Reference to how the business is organised

UIC’s Passenger Global Forum is subdivided into five areas of activity:

  • Passenger Services Group
  • Intercity & High-Speed Commitee
  • Commuter & Regional Train Services
  • Passenger Railway Stations
  • Tourism opportunities

And a special group:

  • RIC/A

The forum also participates in cross-sectoral work and common activities with many different UIC fora and regions.

General context of the business activity

International distribution of rail tickets is one of the traditional activities of European railways – even in an environment of growing competition. As cooperation still prevails in international rail travel, the customers benefit from a “one-stop shop” offering when purchasing their ticket for an international journey.

Both customers and third parties (ticket vendors, global distribution systems, etc.) require accurate information on timetables and fares. Railway undertakings need a tool for sharing such data. This is the background to MERITS and PRIFIS.

High-Speed rail is undergoing impressive development worldwide and encompasses many different elements and special features that are attracting much attention, not only in relation to new developments but also the maintenance and improvement of existing features.

Commuter and Regional Train Services (CRTS) account for 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 form a 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 metro trains on the other hand, are often blurred. However, there is no doubt that CRTS will continue to play a major role for future intermodal mobility needs.

As points of connection in urban areas, Passenger Railway Stations need to meet passengers’ and citizens’ expectations. UIC’s aim with regard to railway stations is to provide expertise to members, with specific solutions for particular locations. UIC’s strategy in this area has three key pillars –intermodality, business approach and social aspects – within the context of a need for sustainable development.

Tourist trains are attractive products with much to offer for the implementation of key concepts for current economies such as sustainable development, diversification and management of tourist flows. Tourist trains facilitate the creation of added value at economic and social level through optimisation of existing resources. However, they tend to be isolated projects, which is why there are opportunities to be developed in relation to networking and finding synergies.

Achievements to be highlighted

  • Successful e-ticketing workshop in cooperation with CIT
  • High-Speed Congress in Ankara in May 2018
  • Annual training session for high-speed rail in Paris (April – Level I) and Madrid (December – Level II)

Key challenges facing this business

European framework legislation, such as the Technical Specifications for Interoperability for Telematics Applications for Passenger Services (TAP-TSI) and the “Passenger Rights Regulation” (Regulation (EC)1371/2007), has a major impact on 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.

In addition, adequate services for persons with reduced mobility (PRM) are becoming increasingly important in ageing societies and are the focus of particular attention by both European legislation and railway undertakings. In a modern context, barrier-free travel is a key element of seamless mobility. Where technical conditions do not yet allow barrier-free access to all trains, appropriate assistance must be provided to bridge the gap.

With regard to high-speed rail, the key focus involves the expansion of the global high-speed network, industry and operations, with due consideration of both business opportunities and social impact.

CRTS are mostly financed from public funds, through public service obligations or contracts. In larger countries, regional entities are given responsibility for the organisation of CRTS. Their powers vary from country to country. In some countries, the regional entity administers the financial relationship between government and railway undertaking, while in other countries, it launches calls for tenders and meticulously defines the services to be delivered.

The SMGG (Station Managers Global Group) aims to advise on best practice for train stations, focussing on a broad range of issues such as governance, funding, intermodality, urban stations, stations in the context of regional development, etc. The group is chaired by Spanish state-owned railway infrastructure manager ADIF and, between now and 2021, will focus in particular on the long-term development of train stations.

Achievements to be highlighted

  • Development of e-ticketing standards
  • Implementation of TAP-TSI
  • PASSAGE project for accessibility
  • MERITS: providing assess to third parties
  • Intercity & high-speed: new handbook on upgrading of classic lines, report on the 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.
  • Station classifications
  • Updated IRS 10181 (Leaflet 413) on accessibility and signage

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