The KP will be subject to close supervision on 1 January and if the public railway company does not comply with the routes or plans defined in the public service contract with the State, this may be the subject of an infringement by the regulator AMT – the Mobility and Transport Authority.
And you will only be awarded a financial compensation for your service if the expense is justified by the line and does not violate European rules. This change is the result of the entry into the European Union's fourth railway package, which will open Portuguese carriers to other operators.
"As of 1 January, the CP will have to conclude an agreement with a public shareholder to provide a public service with several obligations, such as the definition of frequencies. This document must be delivered by 31 December and will be the subject of a prior AMT opinion, "explains João Carvalho, in an interview with Dinheiro Vivo. The agreement will be reviewed" within two weeks "and then" reviewed by the Court ".
The revolution in passenger rail transport is a a fundamental change in the CP regulator's work. At present, "the concession agreement is only vague and allows the CP, at a limit, to make a day trip to Cascais if you like," João Carvalho emphasizes. From January 1, the concession agreement must include metrics and obligations that must be met. If this is not the case, AMT may continue the malpractice process against the company. "
The service contract between the CP and the state is "processed" and will be a direct adjustment. This is permitted by the Community rules, but only by internal economic operators controlled by the State. This renewable contract may be valid for 10 or 15 years "if a large investment is made in the CP that must be amortized."
However, the European Commission or the Court of Justice of the European Union will be able to take action if the public service contract "artificially closes the market to other economic operators".
With this agreement, the CP will again receive compensatory compensation, which has not happened since 2015. However, this will only happen "if the State justifies the granting of this aid properly and transparently", ie the aid will be allocated per line.
O direct adaptation can also ensure that the CP in some services does not get the cent, such as a long course. The document will have separate accounts between commercial services – such as Alfa Pendular and Intercidades – and deficient services – such as regional trains. João Carvalho believes that Alfa Pendular "may not be a public service obligation".
This was even explained by Minister of Planning and Infrastructure Pedro Marques in an interview for Dinheiro Vivo in October. "The CP General Service will be the subject of a public service contract, but non-profit services, especially regional services, will be further developed in this agreement because compensatory payments will have to be made. […] There are services that can only be provided under a public service obligation contract without compensation. "
O CP leader Carlos Gomes Nogueira estimates that 90 million euros are needed to compensate the carrier for the provision of public service to the train. The lieutenant has not yet explained what this compensation will be. In the next year's state budget, however, it is planned to move € 40 million from IMT to "finance the CP's operations".
Vivo is trying to clarify with Pedro Marques' office whether this transfer corresponds to the amount of a compensatory allowance but has received no answer. The Minister will be able to answer this question on Monday in a special parliamentary hearing of the state budget for 2019.
However, direct adjustments do not prevent other companies from exploring railway lines in Portugal. Carriers, so that they can enter Portugal, must apply for IP if there are timetables (channels) that could circumvent these trains. It will be able to compete with "operators who are already financially aware, with all the powers in the field of transport and, above all, with international experience," says João Carvalho.
The Portuguese Railway Network operator may not reject the application if there is no public service contract for a particular section and / or if the same route is carried out by the third operator (CP or Fertagus on the Setúbal / Roma-Areeiro route). the economic balance of this contract.
AND AMT will have the final word and may or may not impose limitations on line operations required by other operators. In this decision, the regulator will have to take account of national and European legislation "on the basis of objective and transparent data" for reasons of competition or economic imbalance of existing operators.
If we return to the Cascais line, "if the CP defines in the contract that it can only make three trips a day, AMT realizes that this is not enough – given that there is plenty of demand – it will give other operators room to enter" when this path is on the list of mandatory services, is an example of the leader of the regulator.
New entrants will also be able to use the Portuguese train lines if the IMT does not secure the conclusion of a contract between the CP and the state and the regulator's recommendations are not followed. "In this scenario, the market is open and other carriers may enter because the tender will be open."
However, the admission of new trains to Portugal may take some time. No operator has so far filed a formal request from AMT; the CP decided to strengthen the partnership with the Spanish congener Renfe, who was identified as one of the potential candidates for entry to the national rail market.