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Klíčové slovo
Datum

Digitalisation in railway transport: A lever to improve rail competitiveness

20-02-2019

Since the 1990s, digitalisation has been advancing at speed across all industrial sectors, public entities and society at large; and railways are no exception. Digital technologies already govern rail customers' expectations, ticket reservation and purchasing habits, operators' information and payments systems, but experts believe these technologies have much more to offer the sector. Digitalisation is key to industry competitiveness and has therefore become an EU priority. The EU has been forging ...

Since the 1990s, digitalisation has been advancing at speed across all industrial sectors, public entities and society at large; and railways are no exception. Digital technologies already govern rail customers' expectations, ticket reservation and purchasing habits, operators' information and payments systems, but experts believe these technologies have much more to offer the sector. Digitalisation is key to industry competitiveness and has therefore become an EU priority. The EU has been forging a cross-policy approach and programmes to ensure a solid policy framework, finance research and infrastructure, develop standards and connectivity, and use data effectively. This should enable rail actors to capture digitalisation's potential, improve their efficiency and serve their customers better. The European Parliament has been contributing to this policy. Rail companies have already implemented a vast array of new services and applications using digital technologies, be it for providing more information and leisure services on board, improving the monitoring of their assets or automating more operations. The changes introduced by digitalisation in rail transport are perceived by many stakeholders as an opportunity – owing to the benefits it can offer – but also as a challenge. Indeed, it will require a change of mindsets and business models. Rail digitalisation will also require financial investment and a strategy to tackle cyber threats. Addressing these challenges will allow digitalisation to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the railway sector.

Energy consumers in the EU

27-04-2017

Consumers are considered a key element of EU energy legislation and the efforts to achieve a transition to a carbon-free society. Back in 2009, the third energy package, which sought to establish a liberalised internal energy market, granted energy consumers a number of rights, such as the right to an electricity connection, to switch energy providers and to receive clear offers, contracts and energy bills. However, some of these rights have not yet been put into practice: consumers often do not ...

Consumers are considered a key element of EU energy legislation and the efforts to achieve a transition to a carbon-free society. Back in 2009, the third energy package, which sought to establish a liberalised internal energy market, granted energy consumers a number of rights, such as the right to an electricity connection, to switch energy providers and to receive clear offers, contracts and energy bills. However, some of these rights have not yet been put into practice: consumers often do not understand their bills, are unable to compare different offers, are charged for switching, or a switch takes too long. Besides, they do not always seem to be aware of their rights. The ongoing revision of EU energy legislation aims to improve some of the rules concerning consumers and to introduce new rights, such as the right to self-generate and self-consume electricity, to ask for a smart meter, or to engage an aggregator. The European Parliament has repeatedly voiced concern that the truly competitive, transparent and consumer-friendly internal energy market envisaged by the third energy package has yet to materialise and that consumers are still having trouble understanding their bills, offers and contracts. It has called, among other things, for providing consumers with increased protection and clearer information, and for requiring suppliers to automatically put customers on the best possible tariff for their individual circumstances.

Strengthening air passenger rights in the EU

27-05-2015

Over recent decades, the liberalisation of air transport in the EU has brought notable benefits to air passengers, including some lower air fares and a wider choice of airlines and services. At the same time, however, increased numbers of passengers and planes travelling through bigger and more crowded airports, and fragmented air space, increase the risk of problems such as flight delays and cancellations, and lost luggage. The EU has adopted several regulations on air passenger rights, which ...

Over recent decades, the liberalisation of air transport in the EU has brought notable benefits to air passengers, including some lower air fares and a wider choice of airlines and services. At the same time, however, increased numbers of passengers and planes travelling through bigger and more crowded airports, and fragmented air space, increase the risk of problems such as flight delays and cancellations, and lost luggage. The EU has adopted several regulations on air passenger rights, which complement the relevant international conventions and recommendations, to deal with such problems. However, not all passengers are aware of, or insist on, enforcement of their rights. For their part, airlines claim to struggle with financial costs and legal uncertainty. Grey areas, gaps in the current legislation and inconsistent implementation have led to numerous cases on passenger rights coming before the Court of Justice of the EU. In 2013, to address these shortcomings and the Court's decisions, the European Commission proposed to modify the existing air passenger rights regulations. Among other provisions, it specified in greater detail certain air passenger rights, clarified key definitions, and modified certain time thresholds for compensation measures, as well as limiting the obligation for airlines to provide assistance in case of long delays. The outgoing Parliament adopted its first-reading position on the proposal in February 2014. It introduced certain new elements and rejected some provisions that, in Parliament's view, weakened air passenger rights. Although the Council has made some progress on the file, it has not agreed on a general approach for negotiations with the Parliament. Stakeholders generally welcomed the clarifications in the Commission proposal and the EP's position, although they do not support all the modifications.

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