The Finnish Rail Regulatory Body investigated the views of the representatives of the users of passenger services on the market
The Regulatory Body must consult the users of passenger transport services regarding the railway transport market every two years. Those who gave statements drew attention especially to the inadequacy of train connections and railway station services, as well as the periodic unreasonableness of pricing. Increasing competition in the market would improve the functioning of the market.
The Finnish Rail Regulatory Body requested statements about the current status of the passenger transport service and its development through Lausuntopalvelu.fi. The Regulatory Body requested especially to comment on the functionality, availability, pricing, ticket systems and future prospects of services. Statements were received from 16 different parties.
According to the statements, train connections, schedules and capacity are not always sufficient. Local transport within the regions works in a satisfactory way only in the Helsinki region. In terms of long-distance transport, especially the transversal trains of the rail network were perceived as insufficient.
According to the parties that gave statements, the services at railway stations have been completely reduced or they are very deficient, except for the largest stations. With regard to the train equipment, they wanted, for example, accessible spaces for the transport of wheelchairs and pushchairs. Several development proposals were made regarding the train equipment, e.g. to luggage and toilet facilities as well as WiFi connections.
According to the parties that gave statements, the pricing of train tickets is often not competitive compared to other forms of transport. VR's current variable pricing results in unreasonable pricing at times. Ticket products used in other countries were also hoped to be made available to Finland. According to the statements, discounts for special groups are important.
According to the statements, digital ticket systems are easy to use, but not suitable for everyone. A significant proportion of Finns do not have digital devices or the skills needed to purchase digital tickets. There are also challenges in buying a ticket from the point of view of those who belong to special groups.
According to the parties that gave statements, increasing competition in the market would improve the functioning of the market. Some of those who gave statements supported the open access principle, whereby railway companies would participate in the organisation of transport at their own equipment and market risk. Other statements emphasized the competition for purchased transport.
The wish to establish an equipment company was in many statements. A state equipment company would be needed, where the spare train equipment of VR would be transferred. The equipment company enables the competition and market to function more efficiently than at present. VR and its competitors could rent their equipment from the equipment company.
According to many statements, municipalities and regions should be given the authority to organise passenger train transport in their own area.
All statements can be read as such at Lausuntopalvelu.fi (in Finnish or Swedish).
You can find more info
Special Adviser Mertti Anttila, e-mail firstname.surname(at)traficom.fi
Special Adviser Kari Lavaste, e-mail firstname.surname(at)traficom.fi