CP will be under direct control from January 1, and if a public railway company does not respect the travel or schedules defined in the public service contract with the state, it may be subject to a misdemeanor by the regulator, the AMT – the Mobility and Transport Directorate.
And you will only be reimbursed financially for your service if the cost is justified by line by line and does not violate European rules. This change is the result of the entry into force of the European Union's fourth railway package, which will open the lines for Portugal's lines to other operators.
"From January 1, CP will have to have a contract with state shareholders to provide a public service with several obligations, such as the definition of frequencies. This document has to be submitted by December 31st and will be subject to mandatory prior opinion by the AMT, "explained the president of the body, Joao Carvalho, in an interview with Dinheiro Vivo. The agreement will be reviewed" within two weeks "and then" examine the Court of Audit ".
The revolution in passenger rail transport represents a big change in the operation of the regulator with the CP. Currently, "the concession contract only has vague things and allows the CP, within the borders, only to travel to Cascais daily if you want", underlines Joao Carvalho. From January 1, "the concession contract must have metrics and obligations that must be fulfilled. If that is not the case, AMT may continue the process of poor management of the company."
The service contract between the CP and the state "is being developed" and there will be a direct adjustment. Community rules allow this, but only with internal operators under the control of the state. This renewable agreement may be valid for 10 or 15 years "if large investments are made in a CP that needs to be amortized."
However, the European Commission or the Court of Justice of the European Union will be able to take action if the public service agreement "artificially closes the market to other operators".
By this agreement, the CP receives compensation compensation, which has not happened since 2015. But this will only happen if "the state justifies in a very transparent way the justified allocation of this support", that is, the support will be assigned by line by line.
ABOUT Direct adjustment can also ensure that the CP does not receive a cent from the state in some of the services, such as a long course. The document will include invoices between commercial services – such as Alfa Pendular and Intercidades – and service deficits – such as regional trains. Joao Carvalho considers, for example, that Alfa Pendular "does not have to be a public service obligation".
This was even explained by the Minister of Planning and Infrastructure, Pedro Markues, in an interview with Dinheiro Vivo in October. "The general CP service will be the subject of a public service contract, but non-profit services, in particular regional services, will be further developed in this contract because it will be there to make compensatory payments. […] There are services that can be provided only in the context of contracts for public service obligations, even without compensation. "
ABOUT CP leader Carlos Gomes Nogueira estimates that it takes 90 million euros so that the carrier is compensated for the provision of public transport services. The internship has not yet indicated how much this amount will be. However, in the state budget for the next year, it is planned that the transfer of 40 million euros from IMT "will finance the operational activity of the CP".
Vivo is trying to explain to Pedro Markues' office whether this transfer corresponds to the amount of the compensation allowance, but did not receive any response. The minister will be able to answer this question on Monday, based on a special parliamentary debate on the state budget for 2019.
Entry of competitors
However, direct adjustment does not prevent other companies from exploring Portugal's railways. Carriers, in order to be able to enter Portugal, must request an IP if there are schedules (channels) available for these trains. It will be able to compete "operators already familiar with the financial level, with all the competencies in the field of traffic, and above all with international experience," says Joao Carvalho.
An operator of the Portuguese Railway Network can not refuse a request unless there is a public service contract for a particular part and / or if the same route is performed by a third operator (CP or Fertagus, on the Setubal / Roma-Areeiro line). economic balance of that contract.
A AMT will have the last word and may or may not impose restrictions on the operation of lines required by other operators. In this decision, the regulator will have to take into account national and European legislation due to competition or economic imbalance of existing operators, "always based on objective and transparent data".
Returning to the Cascais line, "if the CP defines a contract that it can only three trips a day, and AMT realizes it is not enough – given that it has a lot of demand – it will allow other operators to enter" even if this route is on the list compulsory services, the example is the leader of the regulator.
New entrants will also be able to use lines of Portuguese trains if IMT fails to contract between CP and state and regulatory recommendations are not respected. "In this scenario, the market is open and other carriers can enter, because a tender will be opened."
But the arrival of new companies in trains in Portugal can still take a while. No operator has yet submitted any formal request to AMT; The CP decided to strengthen its partnership with the Spanish conglomerate Renfe, which has been designated as one of the potential candidates for entry into the national rail market.