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The seeds of competition in long-distance rail transport. Comparing the early open-access countries

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Rok publikování 2020
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Ekonomicko-správní fakulta

Popis Europe is finally entering in a season of liberalisation in the long-distance rail passenger market. The model generally chosen is that of open-access direct competition among public and private operators. Despite already allowed by the Third European Package, early experiences of open access countries are few and limited in scope: Austria, Sweden and Germany (plus UK, but in a totally different normative framework). The two main exceptions are Italy and Czech Republic (now expanding in the neighboring countries), where three operators – Italo, RegioJet and LeoExpress – reached a significant size and provide numerous services on the entire country. For the coming years, many evolutions are expected, especially in Germany, France, Belgium and Spain where new large-scale competition is foreseen thanks to the entry of at least four new players (Flixtrain in France, Belgium and Sweden, RIELSFERA and ILSA in Spain, Trenitalia in France). The paper provides a broad-scope comparison of some relevant European long-distance rail markets, both belonging to liberalised and non-liberalised countries, with the aim to point out the risk and opportunities of market opening. More in detail, we will discuss the country’s supply structure, the main operators’ strategies, the prices and the level of competition, based on a sample of more than 80 pairs. Methodologically, the paper will compute the price-per-km and for OD pairs, to be compared with intramodal and intermodal competition measured through HHIs. This will allow both to understand the effect of competition together with competitors’ strategies. The exercise is not linear, as price-per-km is distance-dependent, making pointless the simple price-per-km comparison. We will also indirectly discuss the effect of other factors on prices, such as quality of service and willingness to pay. While the effect of competition on prices is not straight, as load factors can in some markets decrease and total costs increase, it can be shown that it generally leads to managerial reforms via the use of yield management techniques and price determination often setting up an increase supply-quality relationship. By investigating such trends, we would be able to comprehend such strategies used by the newcomer and if it manages to create stable market equilibrium. This would also ultimately help us predict what could happen in the future for the countries “in competition” under open access if they continue the current market strategies.
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