European railways reaffirm commitment to improve passenger experience when planning and booking international rail tickets
European passenger rail CEOs from the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure companies (CER) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) gathered in Prague on 6 October for their annual high-level meeting to discuss their long-term vision for customers and passengers. The meeting was attended by Martin Kupka, Minister of Transport of the Czech Republic and Michal Krapinec, CEO of České dráhy, who shared their views on the future of international passenger services. The meeting was an opportunity to exchange on past and future developments and to identify common points of collaboration to increase the modal shift in Europe.
The European railway system is a fundamental pillar of the carbon emission goals of the ‘European Green Deal’, and European railways are committed to actively contribute to its successful implementation. To achieve the necessary modal shift, focus is needed on different areas, including ticketing. CER published last year a ticketing roadmap which addresses the further improvement of the customer experience when planning, booking, and travelling internationally by rail.
In recent years, European railways have been working on enablers, creating the respective specifications for train ticket sales that harmonise the different ways of selling tickets, Europe-wide integrated rail timetables, and the basis for full ticket digitalisation. This will allow a lot of new services to be offered to passengers. To show the firm commitment of the rail sector, passenger rail CEOs adopted a resolution (accessible below) reaffirming their commitment to improve the passenger experience.
Other topics discussed at the event included the opportunities of multimodality and mobility as a service, the current challenges faced by railways, high-speed rail, night trains and the upcoming revision of the Train Drivers Directive. Participants were also addressed by Sandro Santamato, Head of Unit C.3 at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility (DG MOVE), to discuss the Commission’s view on ticketing and the multimodal digital mobility services initiative. CER shares the vision of seamless rail ticketing and is looking forward to working towards this goal with DG MOVE.
ČD CEO Michal Krapinec said: “Rail passenger carriers across Europe have faced challenges during the last three years which have not been there for decades. These include the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and extreme increases in energy prices and other costs due to the unusually high inflation rate. At the same time, ambitious projects continue to be undertaken to open up the railway market, to build up a European high-speed network, to support the renaissance of railway night transport or to simplify check-in procedures when travelling across Europe. That is why an exchange of experiences is an important tool for the promotion of railways in the European transport market.”
UIC Director General François Davenne, represented by Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director said: “There are many opportunities for the rail market going forward, addressing the post-Covid recovery and addressing the shifting of passenger behaviour to rail, to increase the rail modal share both for business and leisure. Cooperation with other transport modes is key, in particular with Integrated Ticketing and to improve customer experience with air lines. UIC is fully mobilised to support the CER Ticketing Roadmap for all the distribution chain for the benefit of the European passengers”.
CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said: “The European railway system is a fundamental pillar to achieve EU climate targets. The EU must focus on fast, convenient, affordable and sustainable connections between European capitals and major cities and the revision of the TEN-T Regulation must take this into account. One of the things we also need to focus on is ticketing, and CER is ready to deliver. We invite all relevant stakeholders to support and participate in the CER Ticketing Roadmap in order to help us realise the EU’s Green Deal objective together.”
The Resolution adopted by the passenger rail CEOs is available to download below.