Transdev replaces the SNCF between Nice and Marseille, what will that change?

Thanks to this first in France, the Paca region promises traffic “doubled for an equivalent price”. By announcing on Tuesday its desire to entrust the operation of the TER Nice-Marseille line for ten years to an operator other than the SNCF, the community is hoping for a move upmarket in the transport offer.

But how could the transition take place with the private French group Transdev? And for what result in the end? 20 minutes make the point.

What is planned

Among the three candidates in the running to win this link connecting Nice to Marseille, via Toulon, the historic public operator SNCF but also Thello, a subsidiary of the Italian public railway company Trenitalia, were therefore dismissed in favor of Transdev . This decision of the regional executive must still be submitted to the vote of the elected Paca on October 29. But the community is already promising to “go from seven daily round trips to fourteen daily round trips”. Or one train every hour.

If the choice is validated, Transdev will officially take over from SNCF from the summer of 2025. The group already transports 11 million passengers daily around the world via bus, coach and train lines. In Paca, the SNCF will however remain the operator of the other lot involved in the opening up to competition proposed by the region. On the “Les Arcs / Draguignan-Vintimille”, “Nice-Tende” and “Cannes-Grasse” lines, it will have to commit to going from 69 daily round trips to 120 daily round trips. The French company has in any case already recorded the loss of the Nice-Marseille market, wishing from Tuesday evening “the best success to Transdev, in the interest of travelers and the development of rail transport in the region”.

What the new operator commits to

In addition to the doubled pace on the Nice-Marseille axis, the candidates to take over the line had to stick to strict specifications. The new operator will also have the obligation “to build another maintenance center in Nice-Ville and to choose new equipment to replace aging trains”, explained to 20 minutes Senator (LR) Philippe Tabarot, former vice-president of the region in charge of transport. Enough to further increase the quality of service depending on the region. The construction of this workshop is long demanded to improve the regularity of trains.

What awaits the SNCF agents of the line

With this decision, the staff working on the Nice-Marseille link should be transferred from SNCF to Transdev. The public company is already preparing for it. “It is our duty to be exemplary in a successful transition for our agents and in the service of our travelers”, commented Tuesday Christophe Fanichet, CEO of SNCF Voyageurs.

But on the side of the unions, we are already showing some concern: “The law provides that jobs are preserved under the same conditions for fifteen months. Beyond that, Transdev may question the contracts. This could have an impact on working conditions but also on certain trades which could disappear altogether ”, reacted to 20 minutes Jean-Marie Valencia, from the CGT Cheminots Paca.

“This model is essentially based on social dumping, that is to say on the degradation of the working and living conditions of railway workers, even though they are an essential element of railway safety”, for his part denounced SUD-Rail Paca, evoking a “fragmentation” of the network. The union demands that “all the rights and regulations of railway workers be guaranteed”.

Uncertainty also remains as to the number of agents affected by this future transfer. The figure of 244 would have been an advanced time. The railway Unsa, SNCF’s second union, mentions 166 jobs.

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