Eurostar has launched a new type of ticket called the Snap ticket aimed at people who don't mind the time of travel. It will allow one to travel to Paris or Brussels for £25 (€32.87, $36.75) one way.
While this is cheaper than its previous lowest fare of £29 one way, the ticket comes with its limitations. For instance, the fare has to be booked by a passenger only in the week before travel. Also, one will have to book without knowing the time schedule, which will be issued just 48 hours before departure. After this time schedule is issued, the ticket is locked to the passenger irrespective of whether or not the time is suitable to him or her.
That said, passengers will be allowed to choose if they would prefer to travel in the morning or afternoon at the time of signing up on Facebook. If for instance, a passenger chooses the morning option, he/she may be allotted a Paris train ticket scheduled as early as 5.40am.
While this seems a way of rewarding lower prices to last-minute and spontaneous travellers, it follows Eurostar announcing on 20 May that its revenues dropped for the quarter ending 31 March, amid the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Hence the new pricing strategy seems to be actually aimed at increasing ticket sales, according to the Guardian.
Nick Mercer, commercial director at the London, headquartered, high-speed railway service, said: "[There was a] strong appetite for spontaneous travel," according to its research. Apart from increasing occupancy rates, the Snap ticket could also help Eurostar spread demand across its services so as to fill seats across all time schedules, including the most un-preferred ones, which would otherwise be empty.
Eurostar provides railway services between London and Avignon, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Marseille and Paris. Its trains travel the Channel Tunnel between the UK and France, owned and operated separately by Eurotunnel.