Hauts-de-France: The CEO of SNCF recognizes the poor quality of TER service
Last Thursday, for the umpteenth time, the president of Hauts-de-France, Xavier Bertrand, openly criticized the TER service during a plenary session of the regional council. The elected official went into a rage, considering himself “smoky” by the rail carrier, which promised improvements that are slow to materialize. Invited in the morning of Public Senate, Tuesday, the CEO of the SNCF, Jean-Pierre Farandou, could only face the facts and affirm to “understand” the dissatisfaction around a “quality of service which does not is not good”.
The bickering between Hauts-de-France and the SNCF is a soap opera that will soon have more episodes than the series dallas. But Thursday, the intrigue reached a milestone, when in the middle of a regional council meeting, Xavier Bertrand mentioned a letter received by the regional director of the SNCF threatening to apply penalties in the event of non-compliance with the deadline for payment before June 30. As a reminder, the region had decided to suspend the payment of the rent to the carrier until the malfunctions of the TER network were not resolved.
“It’s a shame, don’t run out of nerve”
“I tell you, I will not resume payments on behalf of the region. Because the day this gentleman had the cheek to write this letter, he was certainly not on the station platforms, “ gets carried away by Xavier Bertrand. That day, June 20, “126 train cancellations, a regularity rate of 86% where it should be 97%, 22 strategic train cancellations for a regularity of 75% and I am sent this letter- the ? It’s a shame, don’t lack nerve, ”denounces the regional president.
So, as the Hauts-de-France are still a big customer of the SNCF, up to 500 million euros per year, the big boss of the carrier wanted to calm things down on Tuesday. “We have service production problems and his dissatisfaction makes sense. It’s true that at the moment, the quality of service is not good,” admits Jean-Pierre Farandou. The reasons given? They have been the same for months: problems of resources, network congestion, lack of drivers… “We are fully mobilized to make up for this delay, but it will take a few months”, he adds.
Paradoxically, the CEO therefore recognizes a lack of service but insists that his client continue to pay his bills. “I understand that he puts pressure on us, but the modality which consists in not paying us, it must be discussed” estimates Jean-Pierre Farandou. If the latter assures that the “dialogue is not broken”, the discussions promise to be more than tense. Especially since the quality of TER service is not the only sticking point. There is also this case, brought before the courts, of the withholding of information by the SNCF within the framework of the opening of the regional network to competition. Lawsuit that the carrier lost at first instance and on appeal.
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