European railways reaffirm long-term vision for passengers
European passenger rail CEOs from the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure companies (CER) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) will gather in Rome today, 13 October, to discuss their long-term vision for customers and passengers. The discussion will be joined by Matteo Salvini, Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, who will share his views on the future of international passenger services. The meeting is an opportunity to exchange on past and future developments and to identify common points of collaboration to increase the modal shift in Europe. It will be hosted by Luigi Corradi, Trenitalia CEO and Chairman of the CER Passenger CEO Coalition, who will also moderate the panel discussion on ticketing.
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 members are progressing well on the implementation of the CER Ticketing Roadmap, which addresses the further improvement of the customer experience when planning, booking, and travelling internationally by rail.
During the meeting five new railway undertakings will be welcomed to the CIT Agreement on Journey continuation (AJC). MAV-Start, GYSEV, HŽPP, Eurostar and PKP have recently or will soon join the AJC. As a result the AJC will now cover more than 90% of CER passenger traffic, ensuring journey continuation for European passengers on the majority of international travel.
Also on the agenda will be railway network developments, the benefits of high-speed infrastructure and increased capacity on the tracks. High-speed infrastructure not only enhances the speed of travel but also elevates the overall passenger experience. Faster and more direct connections reduce travel time, making rail a compelling choice for commuters and travellers seeking swift, convenient, and eco-friendly transportation options. As rail travel gains renewed popularity, the demand for rail services continues to surge. Improved capacity on existing infrastructure is needed and institutional collaboration with the railway sector on the new capacity regulation is essential.
The importance of data for the railway industry will also be addressed. The data economy is an essential driver for innovation, allowing transport operators to offer efficient and attractive travel options that meet passengers’ needs. In order to ensure a positive and sustainable impact on the transport sector, the European Commission is encouraged to foster an open and fruitful discussion on the creation of a resilient and sustainable Mobility Data Space based on reciprocity, interoperability and data sovereignty.
UIC Director General, François Davenne said: “UIC is fully mobilised to deliver the technical content of the Ticketing Roadmap across the whole distribution chain for the benefit of European passengers. Cooperation with other transport modes is key, in particular with integrated ticketing and to improve customer experience with air lines and public transports. UIC has undertaken significant work on the implementation of effective IT distribution channels for integrated multimodal ticketing and is pleased to be able to bring to its members and stakeholders all the necessary IT tools and technical specifications to improve international ticketing for rail in the broadest sense, and to provide a seamless passenger experience”.
CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said: “From early 2024 over 90% of CER member passenger traffic will be covered by the Agreement on Journey Continuation. This is important progress. The European railway system stands as a cornerstone in the pursuit of the EU's climate objectives. It is imperative that the EU directs its efforts towards establishing fast, accessible, cost-effective, and eco-friendly rail links between all European capitals and major urban centres. On a parallel note, the ongoing deliberations regarding the Capacity Regulation must enable infrastructure managers across Europe to enhance the efficiency of their network capacity to attract more passengers, cargo, and enterprises to rail transportation.”
Rail CEOs will endorse the 2023 Passenger Resolution adopted by CER and UIC, which can be found here.