ALLRAIL, the Alliance of Passenger Rail New Entrants in Europe, represents independent passenger rail companies – both railway operators and ticket vendors. Our members share the belief that faster market opening is the only way to help Europe achieve its ambitious climate change targets as set down in the EU Green Deal.
Around Europe, it has been proven that competition in passenger rail market has led to:
Making rail better: competition builds better market
"Because challenge and competition make us better. If our businesses aren’t challenged, if they don’t have to compete, then they don’t have any reason to work to serve people better. Competition is the motor that drives businesses to do better for consumers. To cut prices. To offer more choice. To produce innovative products.“ Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition (2015 - 2019), currently Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, in a speech in Washington DC on September 18, 2017: How competition can build better market. We could not express it better and agree more.
After years of decline, it was competition in the market that caused passenger numbers to start to grow again. Newcomers brought in a new approach – focus on passengers’ needs leading to an increase in the attractiveness of passenger rail. Independent operators compete on commercially viable routes with the state-owned incumbent. In all examples it has led to a reduction in fares and an increase in demand for rail (sometimes by over 100%!). This has been a Win-Win for passengers, the rail sector and the environment too.
More digitalisation & innovation in rail for embracing multimodality
New entrants have come up with innovative digital solutions. If rail is meant to be part of the EU multimodal network, then it must be open and transparent. Independent ticket vendors provide passengers with a transparent overview of available options across different rail operators. In addition, they combine different rail operators’ tickets in the most optimal manner (for example; by showing and selling the cheapest/fastest rail options between any two rail stations across Europe). Yet there is still a lot to do, especially in ticketing regulation. After all, combined tickets are less attractive if they are risky to use when the first train is delayed, and the connection is missed.
More sustainable transport for shift to the EU Green Deal objectives
Rail is eco-friendly. However only a service can attract passengers is truly sustainable. If people can travel from door-to-door (within EU) on public transport without risk, with rail as the backbone, it would be one of single biggest incentives to entice people away from the private car. The more passengers on rail, the more multimodal options to efficiently connect people and businesses - and the better for the environment. Only competitive rail is delivering the achievement of sustainable and smart mobility.
More transparency to the public budget: taxpayer savings and private investment
Independent operators participate in competitive tenders for subsidised rail public service obligations (‘PSOs’). On average, across Europe, this has led to a 20-30% saving for taxpayers, with better quality trains as well. The opening of the sector has also led to more private investment. New entrants have brought about new efficiencies. More players on the market mean more transparency in planning and public spending on rail. But this is still not enough.
More jobs and opportunities as a result of the growth of the rail sector
Travelling by rail should be the backbone of public transport within Europe, but its market share is still woefully low. Opening the rail market means growing the total rail market – not just terms of passenger numbers - but also in terms of opportunities for suppliers and jobs. The Single European Rail Area and the EU Green Deal are not just about securing existing jobs in the rail sector; they are also about creating new ones, not just at the rail companies themselves but also in other parts of the value chain.