GREEN LIGHT FOR HIGH SPEED TRAIN PRIVATISATION
The Spanish Government has given the green light to the privatisation of the high speed train service between Madrid and the east coast, allowing for one more private operator to run on the line, thus providing competition for national train operator RENFE.
The initial contract period will run for seven years, after which time the routes will become “fully available” to other operators, on the routes between Madrid and Región de Murcia, Cuenca, Albacete, Alicante, Valencia and Castellón.
The initial privatisation process began in July of last year, with routes of high touristic or commercial value being the first to be considered. The objective is to “give the market greater choice of services and have more competitive prices due to increased competition”, according to the Minister of Public Works, Ana Pastor.
Pastor explained that a single “authorization certificate” is granted through a public bidding process, to ensure the competence of the operators that attend, and the winner may freely decide on which connections will establish services within the scope of that corridor.
The new operator can also set the frequency of their services and their prices freely. Pastor recalled that the Madrid to Valencia route recorded 6.5 million passengers per year, of which 1.78 were carried by train, 264,000 by air, 3.9 million in private cars and 580,000 by bus, which means that the rail market share is 27.4%.
The Ministry plans to commission the Murcia to Madrid high speed route in the middle of next year, following the success of the Madrid to Alicante line, which, since its opening on June 18 of last year, has witnessed a steady growth, reaching an average occupancy of 80%, according to data from Renfe.
The minister was convinced that the entry of a new operator will further encourage the use of rail transport and guarantee the capillary network offered by Renfe services throughout the country.
The new operator may rent the rolling stock from RENFE, whilst developing its own fleet of trains. According to the minister, the gradual liberalization allows adequate control by the Directors of the quality and safety of services, so that the process has all the guarantees.
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43990/
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