The European Parliament adopted on November 14th at a large majority (317 against 224) the report of its Transport Committee on the project of new Regulation on public service requirements in passenger transport.
This report amended the project released by the Commission in July 2000 by granting more freedom of choice to local authorities, more protection for the employees and fewer exemptions from the rule of competition when authorities choose competition.
In this new version, competent authorities have the right to provide services themselves or through their own undertakings without competition.
But, according to the principle of reciprocity, companies which are granted services without competition can’t participate in any tendering procedure elsewhere.
The Parliament has also removed several exemptions from competition (for heavy rail services and integrated services). Only metro and tramway services can, in some specific cases, be awarded directly.
The maximum length of public service contracts has been raised to 8 years for bus services and 15 years for rail services and the period of transition has been fixed to 8 years.
The text will have to be approved in the same terms by the Council of Ministers of Transport to enter into force.