Finnish Rail Regulatory Body sets time limits for responses to service requests

The Finnish Rail Regulatory Body has issued a regulation on time limits within which operators of service facilities must answer requests for access to service facilities and services.

Operators of service facilities that supply rail-related services must provide non-discriminatory access to their service facilities and the services supplied in the facilities. Under section 133 of the Rail Transport Act (1302/2018), the Rail Regulatory Body must set a time limit within which service facility operators must respond to applicants’ requests. The Rail Regulatory Body has previously issued instructions about the matter.

The new regulation sets a single time limit of 30 days for service facilities, regardless of the amount or type of work required to respond to the service request. The previous instructions set a time limit of 14 days for simple requests and 30 days for complicated requests that require more thorough examination.

In the draft regulation, the proposed time limit was 14 days, but it was extended to 30 days in the final regulation based on comments received during public consultation. Consultation respondents wanted a longer time limit especially for responding to more complicated requests. Even though the time limit was extended, the purpose of the regulation is to support the objective of the Rail Transport Act and to ensure that requests are answered rapidly by setting a deadline for responses. Under section 133, subsection 2 of the Rail Transport Act, service requests must always be answered as soon as possible regardless of the time limit set. Therefore, the 30-day time limit set by the Rail Regulatory Body becomes applicable particularly in complicated cases in which responding to service requests requires more extensive examination. In practice, the 30-day time limit will not be applied to simple requests because they can be answered much quicker.

Late service requests submitted after the annual deadline and ad hoc requests are subject to separate time limits.

The regulation enters into force on 1 June 2023 and remains in force until further notice.

The regulation is available (in Finnish) on the website of the Finnish Rail Regulatory Body at the address  (External link)