Leading rail CEOs from the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure companies (CER) have met with the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean for a productive exchange of views and strategic vision on a variety of transport related policy topics, with a particular focus on the impact of energy prices on the sector.
CER called for rail to be identified as a strategic service which should be prioritised in the supply of energy as a short-term measure, as well as for price caps on energy for rail transportation to be introduced in emergency legislation aimed at tackling rising end-user energy costs, and finally for reducing rail undertakings’ costs through subsidy schemes.
The meeting also allowed a constructive and positive exchange between the Commissioner and CER members on the topic of ticketing. CER reiterated the voluntary efforts the sector is making to address the further improvement of the customer experience when planning, booking, and travelling internationally by rail. It was agreed that further dialogue on this topic is important and will be prioritised.
CER published its Ticketing Roadmap – a long-term vision for seamless passenger experience – in October 2021.
CER Chair Andreas Matthä (CEO of Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB) said: “The dramatic increase of energy prices endangers rail’s share in the modal split and thus the European climate protection goals themselves. The European railway sector needs a secure, affordable and predictable energy supply for rail transport. I call on the European Commission to extend the temporary crisis framework for state aid adopted after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I also support a short-term intervention in the electricity market through price caps for energy”.
CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said: “We would like to thank Commissioner Vălean and her team for this opportunity to discuss important issues which are vital to the rail sector. CER will continue to implement the CER Ticketing Roadmap to improve the rail passenger experience, and to exchange with the European Commission on this topic. In these challenging times, rail underpins the environmental, but also the economic and social sustainability of our continent.”