Domestic passenger rail competition to start in Europe in 2020

October 15, 2015

EUROPEAN Union transport ministers agreed on October 8 to allow open-access passenger operators to compete with incumbent national railways from 2020 as well as reforms to the way subsidised services are provided.Website Insert Start Here copy

The proposals, which form part of the Fourth Railway Package, were put forward by the European Commission in 2013.Private open-access operators are already providing services on a limited number of routes in Austria, Britain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden, although obtaining paths to run new services is often time consuming, and private operators sometimes encounter obstacles from the incumbent national railway.

The plan is to open commercially-viable services to competition from 2020, while the majority of subsidised services, many of which are currently operated under concessions awarded to the local incumbent, will be liberalised 10 years after a new law is enacted next year.

The original proposal would have introduced mandatory competitive tendering for these services. However, opposition from member states means that governments will be able to award contracts directly where the geographical characteristics are such that it would result in improvements to the service, or where insufficient bids are received.

David Briginshaw, writing for the International Railway Journal has the full story by clicking here.


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