Finland to open rail passenger transport market

At the beginning of 2020, the monopole of Finnish state operator, VR Group, will end with the opening to competition of the rail passenger transport market. The announcement has been made by Minister of Transport and Communications, Anne Berner, and Minister of Economy, Mika Lintilä.

According to the Helsinki Government’s strategy, rail transport reform “will be carried out in phases, methodically and keeping in mind the principles of an efficient policy for the human resources division”.

Rail market liberalisation will give local, county and regional authorities a major influence on specifications and procurements of public service contracts and the government says counties will be involved in the national tendering procedure “from the very beginning”.

The strategy will align Finland to the provisions of the Fourth Railway Package issued by the European Commission. Passenger rail transport services will be provided based on concession by signing contracts that specify the supply of minimum services standards.

Railway market liberalisation will begin in the south of the country and the process will operate in parallel with the competitive tendering of suburban rail services under the jurisdiction of Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL). According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the first of these concessions will become effective at the beginning of 2020 and the new procurement model will be launched in Finland by June 2026.

Minister of Economy, Mika Lintilä, confirmed that rolling stock, maintenance and asset property divisions part of the Finnish Railways will be divided into three new state companies and this restructuring will be completed “as soon as possible”.

Photo source: Siemens