The Finnish state railways VR Group is launching an extensive restructuring programme aiming to respond to the sudden and partially permanent changes in the market, according to the Group’s press release of August 20th.
On a trial basis, VR has decided to introduce more flexible pricing next year as part of its restructuring programme.
The aim is ”to improve the customer travel experience and meet different needs of passengers”, the Group’s statement says.
In practice, the new pricing system means that tickets bought for trains in the middle of the day would be cheaper than those to be used in the morning and evening rush-hours.
According to the VR Group, there is a distinct demand for flexible pricing.
”At present, all our rush-hour trains are crammed. Long-distance trains normally have as many carriages as possible. We will have to encourage passengers to start using mid-day trains as well as to attract entirely new consumers who have not been using the train so far”, argues VR Group's new President and CEO Mikael Aro.
VR is to start introducing the new pricing system gradually on various routes. According to Aro, it is not possible to launch such a vast project at one go.
The price elasticity is to be tested in connection with a trial campaign that has just been introduced.
The purpose of the campaign is to offer a 10 per cent discount for those who buy their tickets online at least seven days prior to the planned trip.
The VR Group has not decided yet whether or not the planned flexible pricing system should apply only to those customers who buy their tickets either online or from ticket machines.
In principle, such new tickets should also be available over the counter at railway stations.
One in five train tickets are bought online these days.