CMA supports rail competition
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to work with the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to examine the scope for greater competition in rail passenger service provision.
Limited market competition already exists– largely through the passenger franchising bidding process, and from (non-franchised) open access operators to some extent. There is also some competition where different franchises overlap.
The CMA says: “As a statutory duty we have a duty to promote competition. We will examine the desirability, and the feasibility, of expanding opportunities for in-market competition, with a view to securing greater value for money for passengers (and taxpayers). There is some evidence that existing competition within the market has yielded benefits for passengers and for the industry, but in the current industry framework the scale of in-market competition is relatively limited.
“Our policy project will examine whether the current industry framework can be adapted for the future, not how it is applied at present, and it will not have any bearing on the government’s current franchising programme. We will also look at experience of competition within the market for rail services in other countries, and in the rail freight sector in Great Britain.
“We will engage with all interested parties and we envisage some ‘round table’ meetings. We expect to produce a report setting out our findings in the summer of 2015, which will then be a subject of a public consultation.”