Easier Access to Foreign Carriers to Bulgaria's Railway Network

Domestic | February 8, 2019, Friday // 13:34|  views

Source: Pixabay

Amendments to the law on rail transport, adopted by the Parliament on Thursday's first reading, facilitate the access of foreign railway operators to the Bulgarian market. They will now have the right to carry passengers. The Railway Administration Executive Agency (RAEA) will have to guarantee access to railways and service facilities and to recognize the uniform railway safety certificates issued by the Railway Agency of the European Union, operating on markets in the European Union.

These single certificates replace the current two-part A (issued in the Member State where the railway undertaking is registered) and B (issued in each Member State where the railway undertaking intends to operate). RAEA will also be able to issue such certificates, but only if the railway undertaking intends to operate only on the Bulgarian market.

However, the amendments allow the possibility of limiting access to the network if, in certain sections, passenger transport is carried out by the State Railways under the public service contract which is valid until the end of 2024. Refusal will only be permitted if the destination requested by a foreign railway carrier has led to a distortion of the economic equilibrium of the public contract with BDZ

Nikolay Tishev from the left is worried that the interests of BDZ will be affected as external carriers will come with new machines, wagons and claim the most lucrative stretches. So the BDZ will remain the losers.

However, the denial of access clause for public service contracts eliminates this danger for at least five years.

Until 2024 another carrier can not come because it has a public contract with BDZ and until then it is the carrier, ie. the market is completely protected, Ivan Valkov from GERB answered the BSP's worries. The ruling majority also explained that the rail transport regulation allows the state to choose to whom to assign the next public transport contract when the maximum annual market volume is below 23 million km.

The chairman of the transport committee, Khalil Letyfov, from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, commented on the Socialists' fears of seizing the business of BDZ that even our transnational lines are now losers. "At the same time,  foreign carrier coming here will not be paid a subsidy for the transportation of passengers like the national BDZ." I can not assume that the state will only give the external carrier the profitable lines, the question is will we be able to improve this service affecting Bulgarian citizens, "he said.

The texts stipulate that railway transporters with valid certificates will use them until their expiration. Those who have applied for such permits before 16 June 2019 and have not received them will complete the procedures for the new requirements. Uniform certificates will be valid for five years.

The Railway Administration Executive Agency will also maintain a national vehicle register that complies with the common specifications for national vehicle registers adopted by the European Commission.

According to the corrections, the fine for the pollution of the waiting and station platforms or the passage through the railway tracks and arrows outside the area designated for servicing passengers without special permission is increased. The minimum sanction so far has been 10 levs, now it will be between 20 and 50 levs for the first violation. In the second one it is BGN 75, and in the third one it is 100 BGN.

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Tags: railway


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