How to Get Value for Money Through Private Sector Participation in Rail Service Delivery ? International Evidence
A Smith, C Nash, University of Leeds, UK; S Sanders, I Hood, Arup, UK
This paper reviews the international evidence - and presents new evidence - on the impact of alternative approaches to involving the private sector in rail service delivery.
The question of how best to secure value for money in the delivery of public services through private sector participation has become a major issue internationally. In rail service provision in particular, liberalisation within Europe has seen increased involvement of the private sector through open-access in passenger and freight. Though not currently required by legislation, a number of European countries have utilised competition for the market in order to improve the efficiency with which passenger rail services are delivered. This method of procuring passenger rail services has also been adopted elsewhere, most notably Melbourne and South America. Looking forward, the European Commission is reviewing options for the introduction of competition into the domestic rail passenger market.
There is therefore considerable interest in understanding the different approaches to securing private sector participation in passenger rail service delivery around the world. This paper presents the international evidence, focusing on the most important cases, namely Britain, Germany and Sweden within Europe, and Melbourne and Latin America from outside Europe. As well as reviewing the academic literature, the paper presents new research quantifying the impacts of the various alternatives on usage, efficiency, innovation and the passenger experience in the case study countries. It also sets out the results of an interview programme aimed at capturing the views of operators, government and regulators. Finally the general lessons that can be learnt are summarised. Since the paper draws on work done for the British Office of Rail Regulation, the particular lessons for Britain are also identified.
Association for European Transport