Competition is urging Adif to cut costs, as fares paid by Renfe and Ouigo are among the highest in Europe.

The National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) considers the direct costs calculated by Adif to determine the charges for railway operators to be “much higher” than its European counterparts, which is why it has called on the company’s public to reduce the direct costs.

The CNMC’s decision comes amid a standoff between the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility and French company Ouigo, whose sector minister Oscar Puente announced he would take the pricing strategy to the regulator.

“We are considering going to the CNMC,” Puente said in an interview on Onda Cero, where he noted that the French state-controlled company engaged in “unfair practices” of “dumping” prices. not to cover its costs with the prices it charges customers.

In turn, the regulator approved new criteria for the supervision of railway charges, recalling that in Spain they are in third place in Europe, only after France and the United Kingdom. Puente argued that Ouigo should not follow the low-price strategy and, at the same time, asked Adif to lower its fees.

The CNMC has already developed an econometric model that follows international standards for the correct assessment of Adif costs in order to obtain fees from neighboring countries.

To do so, it will use an efficiency test that assesses whether there is an efficient allocation between different segments of the rail market through reimbursable costs, i.e. segments whose demand is less sensitive to price. A larger share of costs than with more price-sensitive demand.

Similarly, it will conduct a market test to guarantee that the additions will not reduce demand for segments, except in exceptional cases such as during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the first review of charges after receiving this communication, the regulator will check whether the additional charges will allow the average efficient operator to profitably offer the services necessary to meet the optimal mobility demand of each segment, as determined in the market research. Infrastructure managers must evolve.

The report shows that rail fees paid by Adif to operators represented 91% of the price of tickets sold by Iryo in the first quarter of 2023, and about 49% in the case of Ouigo.

The regulator also confirms the reduction of high-speed ticket prices since the launch of Ouigo and Iryo, with an average price of AVE 65.6 euros, compared to 32.9 euros for Ouigo and 33.3 euros for Iryo Madrid-Barcelona.

Therefore, the weight of taxes in AVE is only 32%, but reaches 49% in Ouigo and 91% in Iryo. However, Renfe also offers very low prices on its low-cost trains (Avlo), with an average price of €39.90, with a commission rate of 49%.

Source: El Diario

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