Federal Passenger Company (FPC), a RZD subsidiary, has received the right to use and supply data on traffic timetable, prices and services provided for rail passenger traffic within the European programme MERITS.
The multiple system for European railway traffic, MERITS (Multiple European Railways Integrated Timetable Storage) contains information on the timetable data of 32 railway companies (35,000 trains). In 2007, the railway companies signed the memorandum of understanding MERITS/PRIFIS (PRIce and Fare Information Storage) to set the terms and conditions for cooperation between parties and in 2011-2012 the EC recommended railway undertakings to supply data to third parties and the companies committed to provide all data by the end of 2012. Moreover, CER elaborated a business model to deliver information on the method of governing and delivering data to third parties. In September 2012, UIC decided to divide MERITS and PRIFIS in two so that, as of January 2013 the new memorandum MERITS could become effective by delivering data to 2013. Starting with the second half of 2013, data delivery will be weekly (compared to monthly deliveries until now). In this context, in the new MERITS formula, participants have to supply all timetable data available in the company every week (or every month if not available). Information will contain data on delivery frequency and delivery in advance by two months of all possible traffic data. In exchange, they can access the entire MERITS database which is updated every week and which can be used unlimited in every system. Members can access the entire database or part of the MERITS data calculated to third parties (based on a contract stipulating minimum conditions of use).
MERITS provides a multilateral data exchange (on timetables and prices), the companies providing information from the general data centre. Costs are significantly reduced by dividing development and operation costs and this system helps promote railway transport by easing the accessibility to the databases of all companies. Distribution systems are easy to incorporate and customers receive correct and up-to-date information.
In order to promote the services and to benefit from the information provided by railway companies, the Russian rail passenger transport operator, Federal Passenger Company (FPC) and RZD signed a memorandum of understanding in April 2013 entitling the former to use information about traffic and the cost of rail passenger transport within MERITS. The company will also be able to include its own routes, prices and timetables in the European Union in the system.
“By signing this document, we have solved the problem of selling tickets valid from stations along the whole route, as well as on parts of the route, within European countries, on Federal Passenger Company trains, especially the Moscow – Berlin – Paris and Moscow – Nice services,” said Mikhail Akulov, Vice President of Russian Railways and CEO of the Federal Passenger Company.
“It has become easier for people from Russia to buy tickets on European trains while they are in Russia. The UIC will do everything possible in order to ensure cooperation between the Russian and European systems,” said Mark Gugon, Senior Advisor for Passenger Transport to the International Union of Railways (UIC).
FPC will be able to use all applications starting with June 2013.