Information published on 30 April 2013 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 344.

UIC Commercial and Distribution Forum (Paris, 24 April 2013)

  • Passenger

The UIC Commercial & Distribution forum, chaired by Marc Giesen (DB Vertrieb), took place on 24 April 2013 at UIC headquarters in Paris. UIC participants were: Ignacio Barron, Dirk Oelschlaeger, Marc Guigon, Jean-Philippe Blanchard, Fabrice Setta, Jozef Fazik.

Participants from several countries in Europe mainly discussed the following subjects:

Online Sales Interface

Linda Gerlach, DB, leading the Online Sales Interface group (OSI) has presented the status of the project. The OSI worked out by the TAP PM group, was discussed by the members. Linda Gerlach, TAP-PM Chairman reported on the latest results and open points to be decided by the Forum. Since the decision on starting the OSI work by the end of 2012, the market requirements and initiatives to the rail sector have changed significantly. Therefore the vision of OSI has changed from the original project context. A small group of participants worked on an OSI High Level Requirements Document, largely based on the FSM (Full Service Model) Phase One deliverables.

This was reviewed by a larger group and is now the basis for the following work.
The TAP PM group worked out a recommendation on how to proceed with OSI and now has to define the details regarding scope, governance, staffing etc.

Following approval of this, RUs and third parties will be requested to sign in for an OSI core group which will proceed with the detailed technical work on the specification in June 2013. Linda Gerlach will liaise with the FSM group which is about to re-start with the full support of the ticket vendor associations. It was also agreed at the Forum that ownership of the intellectual property will stay with the members of the core group; the intention is to create a kind of open source specification. The C&D Forum followed the recommendation on all points. The main points were changing the vision of OSI, IPR rights stay with the core group members, collaboration with other initiatives, creating a core group of experts with a substantial (four days a week) contribution to the work and setting up a Steering Board.

TAP-TSI

As regards the status of TAP TSI, the project leader Rütger Fenkes updated the CDF on the ongoing work and the regulatory developments since the last Forum. There are several positive developments, for instance as regards the recognition by the EU Commission that an unconditional exchange of all tariff data between all RUs is sensitive from a competition point of view.
A multi-stakeholder working group has been investigating a range of governance options since January this year. It is planned to submit an agreed proposal to the TAP TSI Steering Committee before the summer break.

Next, the results of the individual RU and IM implementation planning were presented. Over 40 (groups of) railways, many of which are UIC members, have spent a significant amount of effort on this. The consolidated Masterplan indicates that the vast majority of railways will be compliant with the most relevant TAP TSI retail functions between mid-2015 and mid-2017. The consolidated plan needs to be sent to the EU Commission by the end of April so that the milestones can be incorporated into the republished text of the Regulation, which is expected for autumn this year.
The CDF took note of the developments and committed to keeping an eye on further TAP TSI developments.

MERITS – PRIFIS

Marc Guigon, UIC senior advisor for passenger transport, presented a point concerning Merits and Prifis activities. After the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding which was approved during the last C&D forum in October 2012, only two railway undertakings have expressed their wish to provide Merits calculated data to third parties.

Marc Guigon informs that the Russian Railways (RZD) joined the Merits-Prifis community last week. Discussions are being held with other Railway Undertakings.
Then, Marc Guigon made a point about the “New Merits”, consisting of new software and new company (HaCon) to host the database. The main advantages of this “new Merits” are:

  • Weekly delivery instead of monthly delivery
  • Automated integration process with less manual interference
  • Continuous timetable period for publication
  • Standardised EDIFACT structure for export (no longer other standards)
  • Use of check-in time (Eurostar…)
  • New rules for the integration of international trains
  • Territorial principle based on border station data
  • Information provider based on service brand code list

The software is now undergoing a test period (factory testing, data manager and user testing).

The training for the Railway Undertakings is to be held in Paris (UIC HQ) on 23 and 24 May, and in Zagreb on 28 and 29 May. Each Railway Undertaking which is member of the Merits community has to send its experts to these trainings.

Finally, Marc Guigon presented the situation of the adaptation of Merits and Prifis to fulfil the TAP-TSI regulation. Each RU shall make available all its timetable data and tariffs for which it is responsible as sole/joint carrier to all RUs, third parties and public bodies. The main advantages are to enable the parties listed to benefit from Merits data, which contains quality-assured (i.e. reliable) and integrated data on cross border services; implementation is only necessary once data is notified to the Registry and third party access is controlled and restricted to download-only. So, it is simpler for the RUs who can continue to provide their data as of today.

The implementation of adaptations by HaCon, test and deployment of Merits adapted to TAP (full operation subject to existence of the Registry) will be done for 2015. The adaptation costs will be presented during the next C&D Forum.

New RIC adapted to the new situation in Europe

The new RIC adapted to the new situation in Europe was presented to members of the Forum.

RIC is an agreement on the exchange and use of coaches in international traffic in force since 1922. It is applied between member RUs for the reciprocal use of coaches used in international passenger traffic. Given the nature of passenger transport services, those offering international transport depend on cooperation between successive RU carriers, in particular for the coaches used in the process. Following the European Table on through-carriage services (EWP), which is determined every year by the Swiss Railways (RU in charge of the FTE), there are more than 450 passenger train exchange points in Europe and there are about 15 thousand passenger coaches bearing the RIC mark in operation.

The main aspects to be taken into account when adapting the RIC agreement were:

  • Entry into force of the new COTIF (new procedure for vehicle authorisation, separation of RU and keeper roles, etc.),
  • Liberalisation of the passenger market, necessitating the opening-up of the RIC to dedicated keepers (non-RUs) and to third-party RUs,
  • New rules and regulations (TSIs) and prerogatives of national safety authorities (NSAs).

The Forum accepted the new RIC and mandated the EVF Bureau (UIC) to take charge of collecting the membership renewals (existing historic signatories) and membership applications (new signatories). Implementation of the new RIC and internal regulations for railway undertakings and keepers apart from the next train table change requires this procedure from now on.