Compared Performance of Railways Companies in Europe
BOUF D, CROZET Y, GUIHERY L and PEGUY P-Y, Laboratoire d'Economie des Transports, France
Railway transport experiences today in Europe a fundamental reorganization that questions, on one hand the classical integrated railway operator's structure, and, on the other hand, the sharing out of competency between the public sector, traditionally ve
Railway transport experiences today in Europe a fundamental reorganization that questions, on one hand the classical integrated railway operator's structure, and, on the other hand, the sharing out of competency between the public sector, traditionally very represented in railroads, and the private sector, offering new perspectives. This trend, supported by the European Commission (Guideline 91/440/CE, Guideline 95/18/CE and Guideline 95/19/CE), concerns all European countries, but it is mostly in Northern Europe - Sweden, United Kingdom, Deumark, Germany, the Netherlands - that this reform of structure of the railway institution is the most advanced.
In a strong European competitive environment, railways continue to loose market shares as opposed to road transport. This trend concerns both passengers and freight transport. Some socio-cultural factors can explain this decline but it is especially in the internal organization of the railway transport that many factors of decline act against a railways dynamic. The aim of this contribution is to compare the performance of railway operators in Europe facing the road transpp/rt sector which is highly competitive. Railways supply is often not fitted to needs-of the transport demand. A change in the internal organization of railway transport companies is necessary therefore towards objectives of flexibility, performance and commercial engagement.
Numerous steps have been achieved already, in particular in the financial environment of transport companies (transfer of old debt to central States) and in the relations between the national administrations and railways companies. Nevertheless, these progress cannot hide the weakness of railways companies' internal performance. The new changes to be undertaken must definitely be in this direction. From an external weakness, bound to the relation with government authority, the problem moves then toward a more internal issue concerning companies, in particular in the measures and the assessment of their performances. After having defined some economic and financial measures indicators for European railways operators performances, we will try to compare them and to assess the first results of the railways reform in Europe. For this aim, we will also investigate the issue of scope economies and density economies of railways companies. The choice of relevant indicators is partly founded on econometric cross section and time series studies of the European railways operators.
Association for European Transport