Open letter to EVP Timmermans
Multimodal Digital Mobility Services – Friends of MDMS call for ambition, halfway measures are unacceptable!
Dear Executive Vice-President Timmermans,
As representatives of a significant part of Europe’s mobility ecosystem, including passengers, environmental groups, new-entrant operators and ticket intermediaries, we are writing to you regarding the upcoming Regulation on Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS).
Since the inception of this Regulation, we have advocated for the EU to ease the booking of (multimodal) transport tickets from all modes and operators. We now understand that the Commission is considering downgrading the ambition of its proposal by discarding this central aim of the initiative. We call on you to ensure that the Commission keeps a high level of ambition for this Regulation. The interests of European travellers and sustainability must remain at the heart of the initiative.
If the MDMS Regulation was to only focus on giving passengers access to ticketing data and then “re-linking” to transport operators websites, it will have failed in its fundamental objectives of making consumers lives easier, enabling modal shift to more sustainable modes and facilitating competition.
This approach would mean that the anticompetitive practices of dominant operators which prevent integrated booking via independent distribution channels, all aiming at limiting comparison and combination across modes, will not be addressed.
This is despite the pile of ongoing ticketing cases against large operators growing larger by the month and such an approach would do nothing to alleviate the strangle-hold that large operators currently have on the way we can search, book and combine our travel in Europe.
To support the EU’s Green Deal ambitions, the MDMS Regulation must enable convenient combination and booking of transport tickets.
Solely redirecting customers to several different portals of different operators is an insufficient solution with no added-value, alarmingly close to the status quo which is unanimously considered as unsatisfying. The landmark 2020 Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy rightfully acknowledged that “purchasing tickets for multimodal journeys is cumbersome”, which is why “the EU needs to transform its legal framework to support multimodal travel information, booking and ticketing services”.
European passengers want the ability to combine and book all types of offers (including train, plane and coach) in a hassle-free manner. With the goal of enticing passengers towards more sustainable travel in mind, the EU should unleash the potential of MDMS as modal-shift and competition enablers by obliging booking/ticketing through independent channels based on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions.
Mr. Executive Vice-President, we count on your support.