The High Level Passenger Meeting (HLPM), a European platform for discussion between leaders of the Passenger departments of the European Railway Undertakings, took place in Spiez, in the centre of Switzerland, on 13 June 2013.
This meeting was co-organised by CER and UIC.
UIC was represented by Iñaki Barrón, Director of the UIC Passenger Department, and Dirk Oelschläger and Marc Guigon, Senior Advisors for Passenger Transport.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux regretted not being able to attend this meeting, and delivered a written message to the attendees:
Six subjects were discussed:
TICKETING / DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY: Time to decide
Introduced by David MAPP, Commercial Director, ATOC
Multi-modal distribution and ticketing issues have gained considerable momentum over the past few months, both from a business and political point of view. In order to help the sector keep control over its destiny (and possibly take the driving seat), Passenger CEOs were invited to discuss a possible sector strategy currently in preparation by the CER Ticketing Strategy Group. An open IT framework was described to provide a technical framework for distribution, which railways can exploit as they wish. The CEOs of European passenger railways agreed to launch a joint project, “Full Service Model”, designed to enhance end-to-end journey information and make it easier to book train and intermodal journeys on a diversity of distribution channels. The project will run jointly with the ticket vendors’ associations ETTSA (European Technology and Travel Services Association), ECTAA (European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations) and GEBTA (Guild of European Business Travel Agents). Both High Level Passenger Group Chairman, Marc Descheemaecker and CER Executive Director Libor Lochman welcomed this agreement which is a powerful signal given to European Passengers.
TAP TSI: Time to implement
Introduced by Rütger FENKES, TAP TSI Project Leader
DG MOVE approved the TAP TSI implementation concepts that were developed by the Phase One project of railway and ticket vendor representatives. The concepts were presented at the last High Level Passenger Meeting in June 2012 and had generally been considered lean. Over the past months, the railways have established their individual implementation plans while the central project continued fine-tuning the governance and IT concepts for the development, deployment and operation of the Regulation. It is now time to start implementing. UIC eNews readers have had weekly access to more detailed explanations since 28 May 2013.
CROSS-DISTRIBUTION: Can railways still trust each other?
Introduced by Marc GIESEN, Head of International Sales, DB Mobility Logistics
The UIC “International Passenger and Baggage Accounts Auditing Body” (IPAAB) monitors the cross-distribution of railway tickets. Auditing of company accounts aiming at checking adherence to cross-distribution rules is currently performed by railway staff. However, in the context of growing competition, UIC members are becoming more reluctant to see staff of their potential competitor having a look into their books. Other questions are raised like what sanctions (including exclusion) could be applied to those infringing the rules? This may call for a revamping of existing auditing practices. Another more independent organisation was proposed, named “PATRIC”: Passenger Accounts and Ticketing Rules Inspection Committee, composed of the Steering Board and the Audit Team.
PASSENGER LIBERALISATION/UNBUNDLING: What does the future hold?
Introduced by Libor LOCHMAN, Executive Director, CER
The European Commission recently published a new set of legislative proposals in the so-called “4th Rail Package” with unbundling of historic companies and liberalisation of domestic passenger markets as two major pillars. Other aspects concern changes in technical and interoperability rules. A presentation of the main scope of these proposals was given followed by an open discussion.
INFRASTRUCTURE CHARGING: How to deal with uncertainty?
Introduced by Nick MERCER, Commercial Director, Eurostar
Rail infrastructure charging systems in Europe show an enormous heterogeneity, combined with great complexity and instability. A recent UIC study demonstrates that this heterogeneity and instability represent a barrier for investment by Rail Undertakings (RU), especially in cross-border services. There is a general need for a definition of a common framework to calculate infrastructure charges. This is subject to the Recast of the 1st Railway Package and will be developed through the new methodology that the Commission should draft in agreement with Member States and involvement of the sector.
INFRASTRUCTURE CHARGES for EUROPEAN PASSENGER TRAINS: How to compete with air?
Introduced by Iñaki Barrón, Director of the UIC Passenger and High Speed Department
The Infrastructure charges for international train services are calculated in different ways depending on the country. UIC High Speed has carried out a study with the aim of verifying if the current system of calculation charges contributes to the development of High Speed trains on an international level. One of the conclusions is that the development of High Speed rail corridors able to successfully compete with air transport requires achieving not only technical interoperability, but also a qualitative harmonisation of the rail charging systems