Is there a declared policy to allow new entrants access to networks or to increase competition in the rail sector? What is it? ProRail also has the right to suspend the service of a rail transport provider. If there is no access contract between the network manager and a railway company, the railway company no longer has access to the rail infrastructure, even though it had an access contract in the past. This means that the network manager may also force a railway company to cease operations. Due to the monopoly nature of ProRail and the legal obligation of the railway companies to obtain an access agreement with ProRail, some contractual constraint is adopted. In any event, there must be a good reason not to enter into a contract. In the absence of an access agreement, the railway company may initiate summary proceedings in a civil court. Rail transport is subject to general competition rules, for example. B in case of abuse of dominant position. In addition, a range of industry regulations are in place to facilitate and promote competition.
The European Union`s rail policy considers competition between railway companies to be a key element of efficient operation (Directive 91/440/EEC). Since European and Dutch railway markets have traditionally been dominated by state-owned enterprises with a total monopoly on railways (both in administration and in operations), several support rules have been needed to allow the gradual introduction of open access and a level playing field. Are network access prices regulated? What do you mean? The infrastructure manager must make the minimum access package available to all railway companies in a non-discriminatory manner. Part of this package concerns the processing of applications for rail infrastructure capacity and the right to use the allocated capacity (Article 13, Section 1, and Appendix II of the 2012/34/EU Directive, transposed in Article 61 of the Railway Act). Rail companies must pay for the minimum access package – the Railway Access Tax (TAC) – set and collected by network managers. This TAC only reflects the costs directly borne by the rail service. These are the costs that ProRail “can objectively and robustly demonstrate that they are directly triggered by the operation of rail traffic” (Article 31, Section 3, of the 2012/34/EU Directive and Regulation (EU) 2015/909). Over the past decade, the calculation of these costs has been the subject of much discussion.
In the Netherlands, several proceedings are under way regarding the direct costs that ProRail has attempted to charge rail companies (see www.acm.nl/en/publications/publication/6336/NMa-ProRail-must-lower-rail-tariff-charged-to-NS). The same is true for other European countries.