The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) today published the new International passenger-transport services policy rule. This new policy rule replaces the previous Policy rule on International Passenger Rail Transport.
The new policy rule follows from European regulations. The European rules will make it possible to open up the market for international passenger-transport services even more.
What steps do you need to take if you wish to offer an international passenger-transport service?
If a railway undertaking wishes to offer an international passenger-transport service, they will have to take the following steps:
- The railway undertaking in question notifies ACM of its plans. ACM will then publish this notification in the Dutch Government Gazette and on its website www.acm.nl.
- For a period of four weeks (starting from the date of this notification’s publication), contracting authorities, concession holders, the infrastructure manager, and other railway undertakings have the opportunity to file a request with ACM to have it assess the notification in greater detail.
- If requested to do so, ACM will conduct an assessment, exploring two main questions:
- what is the main purpose of the new service (does it indeed concern international passenger transport)?
- what are the effects of the new service on the economic equilibrium of an existing railway concession (is the existing concession holder able, from a business perspective, to absorb the entry of a competitor)?
What are the elements of the policy rule?
The new policy rule provides clarity regarding the assessment method that ACM uses if contracting authorities, concession holders, the infrastructure manager, and other railway undertakings file a request with ACM to assess a notification in greater detail. The policy rule contains the following elements:
- The procedure to notify ACM of a new transport service
- The procedure to file a request with ACM to assess a new service
- The assessment method to determine the main purpose of the new passenger-transport service
- The assessment method to determine any disruptions to the economic equilibrium
- The forms for the notification and the assessment request.
What will change with the new policy rule?
Compared with the Policy rule on International Passenger Rail Transport that has been replaced, two major changes have occurred:
- The new policy rule uses an indicative threshold level of at least 50 percent of foreign turnover or passenger volumes (in the previous policy rule, this threshold level was at least 70 percent). This means that ACM will assess whether at least half of the turnover comes from international passengers or whether at least half of the total number of passengers concern international passengers.
- When determining a disruption to the economic equilibrium, ACM will now use the same norm for the main railway concession as the norm used for the regional concessions: will the new service lead to a drop of at least 1.7 percent in turnover or passenger volumes?
What is ACM’s role with regard to the International passenger-transport services policy rule?
Under the Dutch Passenger Transport Act 2000, ACM regulates the entry of international passenger-transport rail undertakings that wish to operate services in the Netherlands without a concession.