The European Commission has accepted the proposed remedies from Spain’s state-owned rail operator, Renfe, following an investigation into concerns about potential abuse of its dominant market position. The investigation, initiated in April 2023, focused on Renfe’s refusal to provide comprehensive information and real-time data on its trains to competing ticketing platforms.
The European Commission expressed preliminary concerns that Renfe’s actions could stifle competition by hindering the ability of third-party ticketing platforms to effectively compete with Renfe’s own online distribution channels.
To address these concerns, Renfe has put forth a series of commitments that have been accepted by the European Union (EU) watchdog. One of the key commitments involves granting competing ticketing platforms access to its data by the end of February 2024.
Renfe has pledged to make all its current and future content, along with real-time data, available to third-party ticketing platforms, with a few limited exceptions. The EU Commission specified that this encompasses “all the current and future content and real-time data displayed on any of its own online channels.”
In addition, Renfe has committed to enforcing a Look-to-Book ratio, aiming to strike a balance between the operational needs of its sales system and the competitiveness of rival platforms.
These commitments are set to be in effect indefinitely, with a monitoring trustee appointed by Renfe overseeing their implementation. The monitoring trustee will report to the European Commission for a period of ten years to ensure compliance.
The move is seen as a positive step toward fostering a more competitive environment within the rail transportation sector. By ensuring that rival ticketing platforms have access to essential data, the European Commission aims to promote fair competition and enhance consumer choice in the online distribution of rail services.
The approved remedies represent a collaborative effort between Renfe and the EU Commission to address concerns and uphold the principles of fair competition in the European rail market.