New contract between the Ministry of Transport and Communications and VR for purchasing rail transport services
The Ministry of Transport and Communications and the VR Group have concluded a contract for purchasing passenger rail transport services for a period from 1 January to 30 June 2021. The contract includes an option for a period from 1 July to 31 December 2021. The option can be adopted, if Parliament allocates an appropriation for the purpose.
On 17 December 2020, the Ministerial Finance Committee endorsed the contract.
The purpose of the contract is to ensure the service level of train transport services purchased by the state also during the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For maintaining the service level, Parliament has allocated in the supplementary budget EUR 11 million for this year for purchasing train transport services. This will not, however, be used for market-based transport services on which decisions will be made independently by VR.
The compensation for transport operations from January through June will be EUR 30.6 million (VAT 10%) and for the option period from July through December EUR 23.6 million (VAT 10%). The option period can be adopted, if additional funding of EUR 11 million (VAT 10%) is granted.
The purchase contract for 2021 includes regional rail services in the commuting area of Southern Finland operated using Sm2 and Sm4 trains, and railbus services on quieter long-distance transport routes. It also comprises regular night train services to Lapland and some Intercity and Pendolino routes complementing the market-based services.
Regional train and railbus services will return to the pre-COVID-19 level. The frequency of night train services will also improve compared to the level during the COVID-19 situation in 2020. The emphasis in the night train services will be more on the holiday seasons when the demand is the highest.
The new contract will replace the current contractual arrangement and, as a result, the exclusive right granted to VR in 2009 will expire. In the new contract, the services provided under obligation as defined in the Ministry's contract will be included in the services purchased by the state. The purpose of the change is to clarify the current contractual arrangement.
Elina Thorström, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 507 4502
Jani von Zansen, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 50 471 1108