#Railways: Agreement on opening up of the EU passenger railway market

train_and_people1A provisional agreement to open up the EU market for domestic passenger rail transport and to ensure equal conditions for railway companies was reached by European Parliament and Council negotiators on Tuesday evening.  It aims to boost the quality of services offered to passengers and to improve the performance of the rail sector. 

The new rules would boost competition in two ways. First, railway companies should have access to the EU domestic passenger rail market from 1 January 2019 in time for the railway timetables starting on 14 December 2020.

 Second, in cases where authorities decide to award public service contracts to provide passenger rail services, which currently make up the majority of passenger rail services in the EU, competitive bidding for public service contracts would be brought in gradually as the main tool for selecting service providers.

Competitive bidding for public service contracts for passenger rail services will be the norm. However, for six years, it will remain possible to award public service contracts directly. After this transition period, any direct award will only be possible on the basis of objective efficiency and performance criteria.

 To prevent conflicts of interest and improve financial transparency between rail operators and infrastructure managers, certain safeguards will be put in place. Member states will be required to ensure that infrastructure managers grant non-discriminatory access to rail operators and that their impartiality is not affected by any conflict of interest.

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Category: A Frontpage, EU, EU railways, Transport, World

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