Dutch and international rail to compete with budget plane tickets
European railway association, European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM), has announced its competitive strategy for the coming years. International trains are to compete with budget airline journeys.
Quicker, easier, cheaper
The newly appointed EIM president and ProRail executive Pier Eringa has set his sights on a successful competition with budget airlines. In order to make these plans a reality, international train journeys of up to 600 kilometres must be easier, quicker and cheaper than flights.
Quicker international train journeys
The multi-country train is currently inefficient and needlessly expensive because of the different rules and regulations on European tracks. Eringa wants to organise more high-speed train journeys and make them cheaper too.
In order to make international train journeys easier, the ProRail executive wants to upgrade stations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam next year, and if possible for passengers to go through security and passport checks at the stations. Once cleared, passengers will not be asked to present their ticket or identification documents for the entirety of their journey onwards.
Changing train drivers at a border must become a thing of the past and cruise controls should be available for train drivers so that European railways are utilised better. A new traffic control system would ensure better management of the railway and the possibility for more trains. As with airline companies, the lingua franca should be English.
Cheaper train tickets
According to the EIM, with clever adjustments to the tracks, preventative maintenance via the use of sensors, cooperation between rail providers, staff exchanges and better border control at major stations train journeys could be 30 percent cheaper.
Presently, the price of a budget plane ticket tends to be cheaper than that of a train which crosses the border. Eringa feels that this needs to change. Prices can indeed be considerably lowered, but then tax competition with flights also needs to be possible. This is, however, an issue for governments and the European Commission.
Trains instead of planes
It is still unclear as to when ticket prices will be reduced and trains added to the tracks. However, the plans seem promising and travelling with the train does have its upsides, such as greater leg room, shorter check-in times and fewer CO2 emissions, provided that the energy used is from green and sustainable resources.