European Commission investigating Czech rail operator over possible breach of competition rules

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Photo: kaprik/ shutterstock.com.

The European Commission today announced it has opened an investigation into the Czech Republic’s state-owned rail operator, České dráhy (ČD), over claims it drastically cut ticket prices to deter competition.

The investigation is focussed specifically on the Prague – Ostrava route, where ČD faces competition from open-access operator RegioJet and LEO Express.

The Commission said ČD had significantly cut its ticket prices on the route since the two companies began operating in 2011 and 2012 respectively. The aim of the investigation is to determine whether the price reduction has been so severe that the revenue is no longer covering the cost of the service. ČD has refuted the claims.

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestagerin, who is responsible for competition policy, said: “Competition drives prices down and service quality up. This is what we need in railway passenger transport, especially when we’re serious about cutting our carbon emissions.

“We need to take a close look at České dráhy’s business practices to make sure they do not push out competitors to the detriment of passengers.”

Updated on 16/11/16

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