On-track Competition at the German Rail Network
LINK H, German Institute for Economic Research, Germany
Since 1994 the rail network of DB has been open for the use of third parties against payment of track access charges whereby the access charges have since 1998 been based on a two-part tariff. Together with the regionalisation of short-distance (regional)
Since 1994 the rail network of DB has been open for the use of third parties against payment of track access charges whereby the access charges have since 1998 been based on a two-part tariff. Together with the regionalisation of short-distance (regional) passenger transport services in 1996 this has led to a still small, but increasing number of non-DB companies at DB tracks.
These non-DB companies face a number of problems such as:
* The infrastructure company DB Netz operates together with DB's transport companies under the joint roof of DB Holding. Due to this situation, DB AG's transport companies have considerable advantages in track allocation and preparing bids.
* The current track charge system (two-part tariff) favours Clearly DB' own companies which run higher volumes of train-km.
* There is no price regulation for the track access and access charges.
* The two responsible bodies, the Federal Railway Board (EBA) on the one hand and the antitrust-commission on the other hand, become only active if competitors claim against DB AG and do not play any initiative role.
* New entrants are faced with difficulties to buy rail vehicles since a second- hand market is only slowly evolving.
Against this background DIW is currently carrying out a company survey dealing with the competitional situation in regional passenger transport. The survey is designed as a postal survey of 150 rail companies. It presents a follow-up of an earlier work which was based on telephone-interviews with a limited number of companies and tendering authorities. It is due to its more detailed character expected to provide more insight into the companies' problems.
The paper will start with a theoretical chapter analysing the feature of the German railway market, the problems of network access and the new access charge system. It will then present the results of the survey and draw conclusions for future regulatory and restructuring needs in Germany.
Association for European Transport