Reference to how the business is organised

Global Passenger Forum, subdivided into four sectors of activity.

  • Commercial & Distribution
  • Intercity & High Speed
  • Commuter & Regional Train Services
  • Passenger Stations

Cross-sectional work and common activities with many different Forums and Regions

General context of the business activity

The international distribution of rail tickets is a very traditional activity of European railways – even in an environment of growing competition. Since cooperation in international rail travel still prevails, the customer profits from a “one-stop shop” offer when purchasing his ticket for an international journey.

Customers, as well third parties (ticket vendors,
GDSs), wish for the right information to be provided concerning timetables and fares. This is the reason for MERITS and PRIFIS.

High Speed is experiencing impressive development at world level and involves a lot of elements and particular characteristics attracting much attention, not only regarding new developments but also maintaining and improving existing ones.

Commuter and Regional Train Services (CRTS) represent around 95% of international passenger business and in many countries represent the core activity of passenger rail operations. In Europe, they carry the overwhelming majority of rail passengers and are the link between long-distance travel and local public transport. The boundaries between CRTS and long-distance travel on the one hand, and local transport, such as metros, on the other hand, are often blurring. It is, however, uncontested that CRTS play a major role for future intermodal mobility needs.

Passenger stations are at the heart of the passenger activity: taking the train, intermodality, selling tickets, other activities (shops, services…). So UIC has managed a group (SMGG) in order to highlight the main topics concerning railway stations, from three points of view – intermodal, business approach and social aspects.

Achievements to be highlighted

Successful e-ticketing workshop in cooperation with CIT

UIC Highspeed 2012

High Speed Training Session Ankara

Signature of Memorandum of Understanding for MERITS allowing delivery of timetable data to third parties (GDSs, ticket vendors…)

Approval by the European Commission of the first phase concerning the technical specifications, the governance and the Masterplan of TAP-TSI according to the TAP regulation

Proposal of UIC leaflet concerning classification of railway stations

Key challenges facing this business

European framework legislation such as Technical Specifications for Interoperability for Telematics Applications for Passenger Services (TSI TAP) or the “Passenger Rights Regulation”
(Regulation (EC) N°1371/2007) has a strong impact on the organisation of the distribution business. Moreover, it strives to create standardised interfaces for distribution systems in order to enable other ticket vendors, such as Global Distribution Systems (GDS), to distribute railway tickets. Timetables and fares are part of this activity.

Moreover, adequate services for persons with reduced mobility (PRM) become more and more important in ageing societies. They are given special attention by both European legislation and railway undertakings. Seamless mobility in a modern sense means also barrier-free mobility. Where technical conditions do not yet allow barrier-free access to every train, appropriate assistance must bridge the gap.
Regarding High Speed, the main subjects are concerning the expansion of the global high speed network, industry and operation, considering the dual approach of business opportunities and social effects.

CRTS are almost exclusively financed from public funds, through Public Service Obligations or contracts. In larger countries, regional entities are given the responsibility for the organisation of CRTS. Their powers vary from country to country. In some countries, they just administer the financial relationship between government and railway undertaking, whereas in other countries they launch call for tenders and meticulously define the services to be delivered.
SMGG (railway stations group) has the aim to advise on best practices concerning stations: governance, funding, intermodality, stations in the city, stations and territorial development…

Achievements to be highlighted

  • Developing e-ticketing standards
  • Implementation of TAP TSI
  • PASSAGE project for accessibility
  • MERITS: Memorandum of Understanding
  • Intercity & High Speed: new handbook on upgrading classic lines, report on potential of night trains, potential of tourist train services in passenger transport (TOPRAIL), etc.
  • Commuter & Regional Train Services: definitions and classifications, PSO (Public Services Obligation), ticketing, etc.
  • Classification of stations
  • Updating Leaflet 413 on accessibility and signage


Barrier-free transport / Accessibility / Intermodal hubs / Intermodal journey planning / One-stop shop ticketing / High speed in the world / Air-Rail cooperation