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Cemoi
Traveller
1 comments

Posted 10 months ago

This is my first post on this forum, so hello everybody!
I've just bought an Interrail Global Pass to travel from France to Italy through Switzerland.
For my upcoming trip I need to buy seat reservations on three sections (TGV from France to Switzerland, EC from Switzerland to Italy, then Frecciarossa in Italy).
On most French TGV and on the Italian Frecciarossa, the seat reservation is between 12 and 15€, which is OK.
But on some France-Switzerland Lyria TGV, the cost is much higher, as high as 55€ from Dijon to Zürich, or 37€ from Mulhouse to Zürich which is only a 1h20min ride.
How come? Doesn't Lyria accept the Interrail Pass like other train companies?
Thanks in advance.

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Flo
Traveller
10723 comments

replied 10 months ago

Hi!

They do accept Interrail but they can basically charge as much as they want for the required reservation. They would probably argue that Lyria is a separate company (although owned by state railways SNCF and and SBB) with the aim of making a profit. Since they don't have competition across the border prices are quite high.

Alternative options for your trip:

Book only Paris - Mulhouse (or alternatively Paris - Strasbourg or Colmar) with TGV, this should only cost 10€ since it is a domestic journey (20€ if the limited seats for 10€ are sold out).
Continue to Basel by regional train, then continue with a domestic IC train via Luzern to Chiasso (skipping Zurich).
From Chiasso you can take a regional train to Milano, so you won't have to get the reservation for the EC train either.
Depending on where you want to go you could even think of skipping the Frecciarossa but if you want to go to Rome for instance it is well worth the money for the reservation.

Flo

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Cemoi
Traveller
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replied 10 months ago

Thanks Flo for your quick and detailed reply.
Yes I will choose the cheaper Mulhouse-Basel by regional train option. Further on, the reservation fee from Basel SBB to Milano by EC is worth the moderate 10€ fee.

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MisterSteve
Traveller
813 comments

replied 10 months ago

It's not only Lyria, Thalys and Eurostar fees are quite high (ES does have to pay a minimum amount to the tunnel company which is partly an excuse).

But 12-15€ is not reasonable as a simple reservation fee. Seat reservations cost almost nothing to manage and the control it gives to the operators has a value to them. In Britain no trains have compulsory reservations but many can be reserved and there is no fee* for that because it benefits the operators. So what SNCF and Trenitalia (and others) are doing is charging you a supplement for the fast trains which undermines the point of Interrail.

* no fee if done through an operator, large service charge if done through the foreign agents!