Passenger rail transport opens to competition

News article 09.08.2017 13.08 fi sv en

The Government has decided to open passenger rail transport to competition. In the 2020s, VR will no longer have exclusive right to the provision of rail transport services in the Finnish rail network and other operators can enter the passenger rail transport market as well. Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner and Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä announced the Government decision on 9 August.

“In Finland, passenger and freight transport has been opened to competition at land, sea and air but not on rails. The reform aims to encourage rail operators to become more responsive to customer needs, improve the quality of services, and increase the share of rail services in passenger transport. The opening to competition will promote fare competition and reduce transport costs with easier access to rolling stock,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.

The opening of rail passenger transport will provide counties, large cities and urban regions opportunities to organise regional and local rail transport services. For that reason, counties will be involved in the national tendering process right from the beginning.

“In future, counties and cities may provide regional rail transport services which will improve opportunities to accept work further away from home. Problems relating to the mobility of workers is one of the bottlenecks of our economic growth,” says Minister Berner.

The implementation of the EU’s fourth railway package, adopted in December 2016, requires that competitive tendering be undertaken as the aim of the package is to promote competition in rail passenger services. In most EU Member States, national passenger rail transport has been opened to competition.