CER welcomes EP vote on Public Service Regulation

Railways support clarity in rules on public service transport

Brussels, Belgium – The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) welcomes the European Parliament vote on the Public Service Regulation. In the second reading vote, the Parliament plenary remained in line with last
December’s Transport Council position and maintained important principles of the text.

CER welcomes the simple and clear framework rules on the provision of public services. While today, in several EU Member States, railways do not have a contractual basis for the services they provide on behalf of public authorities, the text now requires that contracts are systematically concluded. Moreover, the financial and operational details of the transport services must be included in the contract in a transparent manner.

However, the decision missed one crucial issue of the European rail sector, i.e. the problem of under-compensation. The Parliament did not approve the TRAN Committee amendments aiming at prohibiting all forms of undercompensation.

In more than half of the EU Member States, and particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, the railways are not appropriately or not at all compensated for the costs of the services they are obliged to provide.

Johannes Ludewig, CER Executive Director said “Not compensating railways for
public service transport creates a vicious circle: passenger transport is crossfinanced by the freight business; the underinvestment in the whole sector affects the quality of services; and eventually rail further loses market share to the road sector. Politicians must urgently tackle this unacceptable situation!”

This vote puts an end to seven years of difficult negotiations between the >European institutions. After final adoption of the Regulation by the Council, the text will probably enter into force in summer 2009.

Additional background information (provided by Infrasite’s Editorial Staff)
More competition in public transport – with safeguards