Last week UIC and CER organised the High-Level Passenger Meeting (HLPM) in Barcelona.
The HLPM is aimed at European Passenger CEOs to discuss strategic topics relating to challenges faced by the European railways.
The HLPM started with an evening event on 3 October at the Catalonia Railway Museum in Vilanova, near Barcelona, and was organised at the kind invitation of Renfe. Travel was organised to the museum on a heritage train with the participation of Mr Isaías Táboas Suárez, President of Renfe and Mr Manel Villalante i Llauradó, Director General of Development and Strategy, Renfe, where guests had the opportunity to network in the train coaches.
On 4 October, during the HLPM plenary session, the welcome and opening remarks were given by Mr Manel Villalante i Llauradó, Director General of Development and Strategy, Renfe, Mr Libor Lochman, Executive Director, CER and Mr François Davenne, Director General, UIC. Mr Davenne highlighted the importance of quality, multimodality and digitalisation as well as the crucial question of ticketing.
The second session was dedicated to the quality of passenger service during which participants were invited to share best practice on how to ensure operative excellence. Mr Marco Kampp, CEO, DB Long Distance International, gave a presentation on what the process excellence looks like in DB with the project PlanStart which aims to create more efficiency in maintenance. He also gave an insight into the FSM (Full Service Model) project development.
Mr Marc Guigon, Director of the UIC Passenger Department, then took the floor and talked about the main evolutions of the MERITS Model which guaranties that the timetable data are shared with a high number of retailers. He also presented the new Tariff Model (nTM) and how it could be coordinated with FSM: HLPM welcomed the analysis and mandates UIC and FSM to provide a roadmap for integration and development of distributions standards. He spoke about e-ticketing and innovation workshops on blockchain, intermodality, digitalisation and AI.
Mr Claes Lindholtz, Director of Business Development, SJ AB, presented a new way of bringing digital services to the market with the launch in the SJ Labs Mobile App. He talked about the more delicate points regarding the fact that many customers feel uncertain about how to get to and from the train station.
Mr Cesare Brand, Secretary General, and Ms Sandra Dobler, Legal Advisor, CIT gave a presentation on Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and the legal challenges. Ms Dobler gave food for thought concerning blockchain.
The third session concerned the role of rail in the EU mobility strategy.
Mr Libor Lochman, Executive Director, CER, provided an overview of the existing landscape of EU legislation and potential new rules. He talked about the 4th railway package (4RP) and its new challenges concerning safety certificates, vehicle authorisation, PSO (Public Service Obligation) deadline, through-ticketing. He also added that Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is increasingly developing: it is an opportunity for rail passenger services to become the integrator of MaaS and the backbone of the multimodal travel chain.
Mr Eddy Hartog, Head of Unit for Smart Mobility and Living, European Commission, talked about how Europe’s funding can help and address its recommendations and the need to focus on HPC (High Performance Computing), blockchain, cybersecurity and 5G/connectivity in the near future.
The afternoon session concerned sustainability, the environment and climate-friendly travel. The presentations showed recent figures about the environmental advantages of rail and the business potential of tourism for the railway sector.
Mr Libor Lochman introduced the rail’s role in transport decarbonisation. European railways already deliver zero-emission transport, as rail combines energy-efficient and mobility. Rail is leading the way to climate-neutral mobility in Europe.
Mr Carlo Boselli, General Manager, Eurail BV, spoke about Interrail and Eurail as a tool to strengthen railway’s positioning. He highlighted that Interrail can be a means to increase European identity.
Finally, Ms Vanessa Perez, UIC Passenger Advisor, gave an overview of rail tourism and explained the aim of the UIC sector “Toprail” as a means to increase attractiveness for railways among other modes of transport and to identify new market opportunities. She also proposed opportunities and strategic actions.
The next HLPM will be hosted by MÁV-START, Hungarian Railways.
Mr Manel Villalante i Llauradó and Mr Marc Guigon thanked the audience for the fruitful meeting.