Eurostar trains carrying 30% fewer passengers

Eurostar TrainEurostar Group

The boss of Eurostar has mentioned its trains between the UK and Paris are carrying 30% fewer passengers.

Chief government Gwendoline Cazenave mentioned with post-Brexit border checks and present ranges of border employees, there have been “bottlenecks” in stations.

Eurostar is at the moment operating 14 companies per day between London and Paris, in contrast with 18 in 2019.

Ms Cazenave mentioned the corporate won’t restore some companies suspended final yr because of the issues.

“The thing is now we are not able to run the same transport offer as what we had before in 2019, because of bottlenecks in stations,” she mentioned.

“We have a main issue in Eurostar terminals because of the new boarding conditions between the UK and EU, because of the impact of Covid, because of staff in the stations.”

Last yr, Eurostar introduced it was halting its direct service from London to Disneyland Paris and likewise stopped companies calling at Ebbsfleet or Ashford International stations.

It cited causes which included monetary issues as a result of losses suffered throughout the top of the pandemic and post-Brexit border checks – with extra time wanted to stamp UK passengers’ passports

Asked if the companies can be reinstated sooner or later, Ms Cazenave mentioned: “We’ll see, it depends on the way we can handle the big stations’ issues.”

She mentioned the corporate’s “objective” was to “be this backbone between big cities”, akin to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.

“These are the main cities, these are the main markets…. we are working for, which is our main role I would say,” she mentioned.

Disneyland Paris

Getty Images

Currently, UK passengers travelling to the EU want their passport stamped after they cross the border, which has prompted delays.

An Entry/Exit System, or EES, will change the checks, however the expertise has been delayed a number of occasions and is now as a result of be applied on the finish of 2023.

But considerations have been raised that preliminary registration for the system may trigger delays to Eurostar companies and result in queues on the Port of Dover, as underneath the scheme individuals getting into the bloc from non-EU international locations – together with the UK – might want to register fingerprints and a photograph with their passport particulars.

Once travellers have given their fingerprints and particulars, that registration will likely be legitimate for 3 years. During that point it should be validated each time somebody crosses the border.

Ms Cazenave informed the BBC Eurostar was “pushing” for the system to be fully digital, that means individuals may register particulars at home earlier than they travel and it might “not be a bad customer experience”.

“We know it’s a big deal, we know it’s a really big challenge,” she mentioned.

The Eurostar boss mentioned the system would nonetheless work with out “digitisation”, however added it might want “quite a lot of funding, anticipation and employees.

On Tuesday, Eurostar announced its new brand which involved a merger between Thalys and Eurostar and said it hopes to carry 30 million passengers a year by 2030.