According to Eurostar’s CEO, the number of passengers on its trains travelling between the UK and Paris has decreased by 30%.
With the existing levels of border staff and post-Brexit border checks, chief executive Gwendoline Cazenave claimed that there were “bottlenecks” in stations.
Currently, there are 14 daily Eurostar services between London and Paris, down from 18 in 2019.
According to Ms Cazenave, the business might not resume some of the services that were halted owing to issues last year.
Because of station constraints, she explained, “we are currently unable to run the same transit offer as what we had in 2019.”
We have a major problem with Eurostar terminals as a result of the new boarding rules between the UK and EU, the effects of Covid, and the station workers.
Ms Cazenave added that Eurostar and the French and UK governments were putting a lot of effort into finding solutions, such as hiring extra border guards.
Eurostar said last year that it would no longer offer direct service between London and Disneyland Paris, as well as routes that stopped at Ebbsfleet or Ashford International stations.
Financial issues stemming from losses sustained during the peak of the pandemic and post-Brexit border checks, which required additional time to stamp the passports of UK travellers, were among the reasons given.
When questioned on the future of the services, Ms Cazenave responded, “We’ll see, it depends on how we can handle the big stations’ issues.“
The “goal” of the company, according to her, is to “be this backbone between great cities,” including London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels.
These are the major cities and markets that we are fighting for, which, in my opinion, is our primary responsibility, she added.
Currently, UK visitors visiting the EU must get their passports stamped at the border, which has led to delays.
The entry/exit system, or EES, which will take the place of the inspections, has been repeatedly postponed and is now scheduled to be put into place until the end of 2023.
However, there have been concerns that initial registration for the system, which requires people entering the EU from non-EU countries, including the UK, to register fingerprints and a photo along with their passport details, could cause Eurostar services to be delayed and create lines at the Port of Dover.
Travellers’ fingerprints and personal information will be registered, and that registration will be good for three years. Every time someone crosses the border during that time, it needs to be validated.
According to Ms Cazenave, Eurostar is “pushing” for the system to be entirely digital so that individuals may register their information at home before their trip and have a “good customer experience.”
We understand how significant it is and how difficult it will be, she said.
Although the system would still function without “digitisation,” the Eurostar boss stressed that it would require “a lot of investment, anticipation, and staff.”
By merging with Thalys, Eurostar unveiled its new name on Tuesday. By 2030, the company expects to carry 30 million passengers annually.