Starting from 2018 ‘Year of Multimodality’, the European Commission has put together a number of legislative and policy initiatives relating to better infrastructure, connections, incentives and digital solutions, with a view to promoting the shift towards a fully integrated, multimodal and sustainable transport sector.
However, at the moment there is only regulation, Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/1926 on EU-wide multimodal travel information services, which establishes the necessary specifications to ensure that multimodal travel information services are accurate and available across borders to users. It supports the development of multimodal travel information services by mandating the accessibility and the possibility to exchange and reuse static travel and traffic information data, if they exist in digital machine-readable format, on National Access Points. Services facilitating payment and booking of mobility products are not part of this regulation. To help both passengers and/or other intermediaries compare different travel options, choices and prices, and to facilitate the sale and re-sale of mobility products from different operators, whether they are private or public, within one mode or across modes, the European Commission is preparing a new initiative on Multimodal digital mobility services (MDMS), which is to be presented by the end of 2022.
At the moment, MDMS are deployed in a fragmented manner, lacking proper legal and market frameworks to develop more successfully and to provide a full range of offers across the EU.
Many issues remain, such as difficult co-operation between mobility operators and multimodal digital mobility services; complex and lengthy negotiations to obtain licences and distribution agreements; the lack of common standards and interfaces; and the lack of solutions concerning revenue sharing. In some cases, those distribution agreements between operators (both public and private) and digital service providers are unbalanced, due to inequality of bargaining power in favour of incumbent operators. The recently introduced obligation for rail carriers to provide to ticket vendors real-time travel information and access to the operation of reservation systems is only a first step in the right direction which needs to be further developed in the multimodal area.
In the rail sector, with its specific network structure which sometimes makes the use of multiple operators necessary, the limited uptake of fair and transparent underlying private agreements between operators on journey continuation is a barrier for ensuring a smooth passengers’ experience when combined journeys are sold, because passengers may not be offered any appropriate solution on how to reach their final destination in case of travel disruptions. Such agreements enable companies to ensure that passengers who miss a connection due to the late arrival of a previous train can be carried on a later train, reducing the risk to be stranded and making rail more attractive for a wider range of travellers. On the other hand, through-tickets, which ensure comprehensive passengers’ protection (including the journey continuation), are not often offered on the market. It remains to be seen to which extent the offer of through-tickets would increase based on the new obligation that all international, long-distance domestic and regional services of rail carriers, which qualify as “sole undertakings”, shall be offered as through-tickets.
As a result, the full societal, economic and environmental benefits from enhanced multimodality and the use of the most sustainable transport modes are not achieved. Some current practices also risk limiting competition among transport service providers by restricting access to customers and the development of a healthy market for transport services.
The forum gathers European – and national- regulators, public transport operators, industry representatives and academics for a discussion on the challenges and enablers to delivering an EU wide multimodal ticketing, and particularly the Multimodal digital mobility services. More specifically, forum participants will tackle the following issues: interoperability, access to data, through-ticketing/journey continuation, and passenger rights.
Please note that participation in this forum is by invitation only.
SPEAKERS’ PRESENTATION SLIDES:
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