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Gradual opening of European rail markets to competition and digital technology

The European railway associations CER, CIT, EIM and UIChave this week published a joint Roadmap for digital railways, presented to promote what they call ‘the proper use of digital technology’, stated as essential for enhancing rail’s performance and increasing its attractiveness for customers.

By publishing the Roadmap, the groups state they have committed to digital transformation, ‘by strengthening cooperation, both within the sector and with third parties, and by calling on the help of EU institutions to collectively deliver on the objective of making railways digital.

The roadmap entails:

  • offering connected railways by providing reliable connectivity for safe, efficient and attractive railways;
  • enhancing customer experience by offering better and added value for customers;
  • increasing capacity by enhancing the reliability, efficiency and performance of railways;
  • boosting competitiveness by making the most of transport data.

The four groups added that they are fully engaged in the digital revolution and dedicated to contributing to the creation of a true Digital Single Market for Europe.


Fourth Railway Package

The week previously, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers of the EU agreed on the Fourth Railway Package, a series of measures to make European railways more innovative and competitive.

The agreement is designed to improve the performance of rail services in the EU to the benefit of passengers with a gradual opening of the domestic rail markets.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said "This agreement opens a new chapter for European railways. For too long, the rail sector had no incentives to adapt to consumer-demand and as a result the market share of rail steadily declined. Gradual market-opening will improve the performance of rail services. This agreement will also create new investment opportunities and foster job creation in the sector. Finally, it should encourage Europeans to make a greater use of rail, contributing to our decarbonisation objectives. When railways become more attractive, everybody wins."

The commission said that market opening will bring a number of benefits to passengers, public authorities and to the European economy as a whole.


Hold the iPhone. Loco2 is an app

An example of where the knitting together of train timetable and ticket purchasing APIs have been gradually sewn together is the London based train booking site

This week it both unveiled a new website design but also launched an iPhone app.

Unlike some similar companies, Loco2 doesn't charge booking fees for trains in the UK or anywhere else (except for credit card fees).

Loco2 provides find times and prices for trains in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and beyond.

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