Ministry Has Prepared Package of 35 Rail Routes for Liberalisation

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rail service to be liberalised in Slovakia (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, January 24 (TASR) – The Transport and Construction Ministry headed by Arpad Ersek (Most-Hid) has prepared a total of 35 rail routes for the first package to be liberalised in Slovakia, TASR learnt from ministry spokesperson Karolina Ducka on Wednesday.

Carriers will be able to compete to operate the routes in the future when respective tenders are announced. Winners of individual tenders will be provided with a state subsidy to operate rail services on the respective routes. This applies to private rail carriers as well as to the state-run Zeleznicna spolocnost Slovensko (ZSSK).

According to Ducka, the ministry has already received comments on some of these rail routes, while institutions that it has contacted have also proposed other routes to be included in the liberalisation package.

The ministry is currently assessing the expert opinions of institutions that it’s contacted in connection with the project. It wants to make use of their expert potential and jointly assess the liberalisation concept as a whole when choosing rail sections to be gradually prepared for tenders.

“The comments we’ve received are currently being evaluated in order to prepare the first tender so that the whole process goes smoothly, without pointless mistakes and with an emphasis on efficiency,” said Ducka. The rail routes will be included in the first liberalisation package on which the ministry reaches agreement with the entities that it’s contacted, she added.

However, the tenders should be published in the EU’s Journal, probably this year, before they are announced, stated the ministry.

After taking up office, Ersek scrapped a tender for a rail service on the Bratislava-Banska Bystrica route that was launched by one of his predecessors Jan Pociatek (Smer-SD/2012-16) on the grounds that he doesn’t want to deal only with rail transport on main lines, but would like to arrange transport on secondary ones as well. He wants to arrange services in entire regions, including less-profitable routes.

Only one private rail carrier in Slovakia is currently operating a rail service with a state subsidy – RegioJet, which runs a service on the Bratislava-Komarno route.