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Public Transport Ticketing Scheme Block Exemption – Call for Evidence

  • United Kingdom
  • Transport - Rail

14-04-2021

 

The Government has launched a Call for Evidence in relation to the Public Transport Ticketing Scheme Block Exemption (“the Block Exemption”) . The consultation closes on 24 May 2021.

The Block Exemption provides that specified types of agreement between transport operators are exempt from the prohibition on anticompetitive agreements in the Competition Act. In 2016, the Block Exemption was extended until 2026, but on the basis that the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is required to report on the extent to which it is achieving its objectives in 2021.

The Block Exemption applies to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Block Exemption seeks to balance on the one hand, allowing operators to co-operate to allow consumers to buy tickets (including travel cards) for use on the services of multiple operators, but on the other hand, putting limits on those arrangements, with the objective of ensuring that consumers benefit from competition between operators.

In its recently announced Bus Strategy, the Government has set out its intention to extend arrangements for multi-operator and multi-modal ticketing – regarding integration of ticketing between operators as an important part of the quality of the transport system. The Strategy envisages that all local bus services outside London will be operated under either the “Enhanced Partnership” or franchising provisions of the Bus Services Act 2017, which also disapply certain aspects of the competition law which would otherwise apply.

The Government is seeking responses to 12 specific questions, but welcomes further comments and evidence too.

Eversheds Sutherland’s rail practice is founded on a deep understanding of industry legal, commercial and policy issues and an intense focus on delivering for our clients. Over the last 20 years, we have been legal advisers on some of the most significant strategic rail projects in the global rail sector. For further information, please get in touch with Anne Harris.