Breaking news alert from Italy! (No, the government hasn’t collapsed…yet.)
Ouigo, France’s discount rail brand and SNCF subsidiary, has announced it will enter Italy. This is pretty exciting for several reasons, not the least of which is that Ouigo brings market competition to Italy’s lower end, which is ripe for disruption.
What is Ouigo?
Ouigo is a low-cost train operator that serves more than 50 destinations in France, from Lille in the north to Marseille in the south. The company also expanded into Spain in 2021, immediately kicking off a rail-fare war.
The cost of tickets varies between €10 and €115. If you book French trains direct on SNCF Connect (which I recommend), you’ve undoubtedly seen these fares crop up. Fares are low for several reasons. Tickets are non-refundable, there is no food or beverage service on board and you have to pay extra if you want your luggage transported — as well as pay more if you’d like a seat with more leg room or access to the plane’s WiFi network.
So, yeah, buyer beware. Or “aware” if you’re after a budget train ticket…coming soon to Il Bel Paese.