Following in the footsteps of the Council of European of transport ministers, Transdev feels that it’s time for France to open up its railway sector

2015.14.10
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Issy-les-Moulineaux, 8 October 2015 – Transdev acknowledges the agreement of the Council of transport ministers regarding the political pillar of the 4th railway package. Echoing the statements by Jean-Marc Janaillac to the European Parliament a few days ago, Transdev considers that this agreement is an unprecedented step backwards in terms of European rail policy.

The Commission’s initial objective was to set up a harmonised and open rail area, one that would revitalize this sector and make it competitive relative to road transport. In the very year of the COP 21, this objective has therefore been abandoned by the Member States.

In terms of governance, under pressure from historical operators, integrated structures are now authorised, which will do nothing to increase the financial transparency of these dominant groups. In terms of the awarding of public service contracts, the increasing number of exceptions demanded by small States and the new system’s roll-out now pushed back to 2026 have stripped any sense from the initial objective, which was to strengthen the competitiveness of regional rail services relative to road transportation by opening up these markets, as the only venue for fostering innovation, service quality and lower costs for communities.

But with 2026 simply being the target date for the new system’s mandatory implementation, this doesn’t mean that France has to wait until then to move and to experiment with the regulated opening of the TER and TET rail systems, as has already been done in other countries, namely Germany and Sweden. With the planned closings of certain TET lines, the decline of the railway sector is already picking up steam in France. It is therefore urgent for the State to give the Regions – as they’ve been demanding since last year – the ability to select new operators for the operation of certain TER and TET lines and thus to lower costs, along the lines of the experiments by the German Länder (3% decrease of their train-km subsidy in 10 years as opposed to a 22% increase for the French regions during this same period).

Transdev would therefore like the Commission and the European Parliament, as part of the three-way discussions that will start on 11 November, to amend this agreement so that it aligns with the EU’s ambitions with regard to the modal shift, as described in the European Commission’s white paper on transport. 

About Transdev

A subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts and Veolia, Transdev is a world leader in mobility. Transdev guides and supports local transport authorities from pre-project phase, to project support and development, to everyday operation of transport networks. With 83,000 employees in 19 countries, the group operates 43,000 vehicles and 22 light rail networks. In 2014, Transdev generated €6.6 billion in turnover.

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