Liberalisation of train transportation will boost the business for startups

In the last years, mobility is being one of the focuses of several State’s policies and, mainly in Europe, enhanced new business opportunities, such as in the bus and train sectors.

In this last one, even if slower than in others of the Travel & Tourism industry, there are many innovations and changes that are redesigning the scenarios.

Eurostar, the high-speed train company that links London to Paris and Brussels, recently launched the direct service from London to Amsterdam that will connect the two European capitals in less that 4 hours. In 2017 Eurostar recorded a +3% in number of travellers yoy and a +11% of the turnover, reaching about 1,13 billion Euros (880 million GBP). This will increase the competition with airlines, especially in the business segment and for the USA target.

On the first days of February, the American fund Global Infrastructure Partners III acquired for almost 2 billion Euro 100% of shares of Ntv, the company that operates Italo, the Italian private train carrier that in 2017 reached revenues worth about 455 million euros.

From March 24th, in Germany users will be able to buy an high-speed train service from Hamburg to Koln for 9,99 € on FlixTrain, company part of FlixBus, the group that innovated the bus service with the low cost carrier.

Spanish stakeholders are working for the liberalisation of the train services provided by 2019; scenarios are not defined, but new players, beyond the AVE-Renfe, will come, along with more competition, especially with airlines for the connections between Madrid and Barcelona.

Partnership opportunities are interesting when linked to the tourist activities, such as the one between the Italian portal Musement, the German (DB) and the Austrian Railways (OBB) to allow the train travellers to book experiences with a 10% discount.

At Twissen we observed that in the next years there will be more players and more high speed connections, increasing competition with the other transportation means, such as air and bus, but introducing new business opportunities in order to satisfy new moments of consumption.

Author: Francesco Redi
President and founder at Twissen. Manager in Local Development, Tourism Policies,  EU Funds. He cooperates with several European universities, public bodies, development agencies, DMOs and enterprises.

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