Track Access Charges (TACs) are the charges payable by a Railway Undertaking (RU) to an Infrastructure Manager (IM) for running a train on the IM’s railway network. In calculating TACs, an IM takes into account many factors: IMs charge costs that are directly incurred as a result of operating the train service and may levy mark-ups at a rate which the market can bear. In addition to provisions in the “Single European Railway Area Directive” setting out the basic framework, a specific regulatory framework on Track Access Charges was developed in 2015 in Implementing Regulation 2015/909 to further specify how to calculate the cost that is directly incurred as a result of operating the train service.
EIM in action
- Due to the direct (financial) impact on its members, EIM closely follows this topic;
- To alleviate the financial impact of Covid-19 on all railway undertakings (RUs), the European Commission adopted a temporary legislation (Regulation 2020/1429) to allow IMs to lower their TACs below direct costs and to waive reservation and cancellation charges;
- EIM collected data from its members for the European Commission about the evolution of train-kilometres and train numbers during specific reference periods.
- The “Platform of Rail Infrastructure Managers in Europe” (PRIME) engaged consultants to perform a “deep-dive study into the charging and financing” of railway infrastructure managers in Europe;
- EIM participated in the PRIME subgroup on “Track Access Charges”;
- The members of EIM provided data to the European Commission and PRIME relating to charging and financing.
- EIM will closely monitor any potential re-evaluation of TACs;
- In June/July 2021, the first results of the PRIME study into charging and financing shall be available and the full results shall be available by December 2021;
- In 2021 and 2022, the European Commission may consider further measures to incentivise international rail passenger services and night trains through lower TACs;
- The European Commission may also consider instruments that affect the calculation and existence of mark-ups.
Facts & context
Public procurement refers to the process by which public authorities, such as government departments or local authorities, purchase works, goods or services from companies. Public procurement plays an important role for the railway sector – and particularly for Infrastructure Managers (IMs) – since IMs manage large projects with significant budgets which need to be procured under national and EU law. The updated legal framework on public procurement sets the “Most Economically Advantageous Tender” (MEAT) as a principle guiding contract awards, enabling the contracting authority to take account of criteria that reflect qualitative, technical and sustainable aspects of tender submissions as well as the price.
EIM in action
- EIM continues to advocate a public procurement system which takes into consideration not only price, but also criteria related to whole life-cycle costing, innovation, sustainability and social corporate responsibility.
- EIM played an active role in the consultation regarding the MEAT principles and published guidelines on this topic in cooperation with other sector stakeholders;
- EIM cooperated with the European Commission and other stakeholders to support its members in sharing best practices in public procurement.
- EIM will participate in the future meetings of the “EC Expert Group” on the “Competitiveness of the European Rail Supply Industry” (RSI);
- EIM will continue to participate in all relevant meetings at EU level.
Directive 2014/24/EU Public Procurement
Directive 2014/25/EU procurement by entities operating in the transport sector
The European Commission has set up a Rail Market Monitoring Scheme (RMMS) in order to meet the requirements for monitoring the rail market. The RMMS was implemented in 2015 with Regulation (EU) 2015/1100. It defines the reporting obligations of the Member States to the EU in terms of content and data within the RMMS framework. Based on the RMMS query, the European Commission publish every second year a report with statistical information to illustrate the evolution of the EU railway market.
The RMMS report is relevant for rail infrastructure managers (IMs) as they deliver data via their national ministries to it.
EIM in action
- EIM followed the outcome of the Single European Railway Area Committee (SERAC) meetings dealing with the topic;
- EIM advocated avoiding additional reporting obligations or double reporting for IMs, which may create an additional administrative burden;
- EIM also sought to limit the collection and reporting of data, which is not yet available elsewhere.
- EIM participated in the RMMS Working Group of the European Commission to discuss the draft implementing act on reporting obligations of the Member States;
- EIM has actively followed the issue since 2015.
- In March 2021, the European Commission published its 7th RMMS Report;
- By summer 2021, the European Commission is expected to continue working on the revision of the Implementing Regulation. The revision is foreseen for Q2 2022. EIM will underline the need for a good streamlining between the obligations from the RMMS and the obligations from PRIME, in order to avoid doing double work.