Arriva Group is filing an application to operate regional rail open access night services in the Netherlands.
This has been made possible thanks to new European legislation. The operating model means the train operator carries all the associated costs and risks with the services, without any government concession.
Arriva already has considerable experience operating domestic open access routes through its UK Trains Ltd business unit and also operates one international (weekend only) open access service between Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The operator is applying for three new open access routes in the Netherlands. Two of these will serve Schiphol Airport with night-time links from Groningen in the north east and Maastricht in the south, allowing night-time rail travel for the first time and connecting with early morning flight departures. This has the potential to take cars off the road, reducing local airport traffic and pollution.
Domestic open access in the Netherlands became possible for the first time at the start of this year, following the implementation of EU legislation and regulatory reform. If approved, Arriva’s could be the country’s first domestic open access service, and would start running in December 2022.
“This is a commercially smart way to bring benefits to passengers, connect the rural provinces with the urbanised western part of the country and allow our business to grow by making better use of our existing fleet of trains. Furthermore, these services have the potential to grow the market and the usage of public transport by encouraging people out of their cars.
“We hope to be given the green light by the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) so we can develop our plans. Open access will be new territory for us but we relish the opportunity to enhance our passenger offering and add to our portfolio of public transport operations in the Netherlands.”
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