Government proposes amendments to Rail Transport Act – access charges, licensing revised
On 30 November 2023, the Finnish Government submitted a proposal to Parliament for the amendment of the Rail Transport Act and the Act on Transport Services. The proposed amendment to the Rail Transport Act is the third round of revisions since its entry into force on 1 January 2019. The proposed amendments to the Act on Transport Services concern the regulation of licensing.
Amendments to the Rail Transport Act are proposed to the investment-based increase in the basic charge of the railway track access charges. National legislation will be amended as necessary in the light of Union legislation.
The amendments to the Rail Transport Act also include amendments proposed by the European Commission in connection with the review of the implementation of the Railway Safety Directive. The changes are connected to the updating of the tasks and responsibilities of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom and other actors designated in the Rail Transport Act.
More effective control of railway undertakings’ licences
The proposed amendments to the Act on Transport Services are aimed at clarifying licensing regulation and strengthening Traficom’s preconditions for monitoring the continued compliance of railway undertakings with the conditions of the licences granted to them.
According to the proposal, all undertakings operating in cross-border rail transport must have a licence if they receive or transfer vehicles to a railway undertaking of another state.
In addition, railway undertakings will be required to notify Traficom whenever their owners or persons working in managerial positions change. This will allow Traficom to verify that the new owners and management meet the necessary licensing requirements. If necessary, Traficom can also require the new owners of railway undertakings to apply for a new licence for the undertaking.
A referral debate will be held on the proposal now submitted by the Government to Parliament. The timetable for the debate will be listed on Parliament’s website (upcoming plenary sessions).
After the referral debate, the proposal will be taken to a parliamentary committee. Once the committee’s report is ready, the matter will be discussed in a plenary session.
The act is due to enter into force on 1 May 2024.
Jarkko Saarimäki, Director General, jarkko.saarimaki(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 295 342 157