The European Commission has published its bi-annual report on the European Rail Market which highlights that, despite strong growth in the rail sector, more can still be done in several key areas.
The report finds that open competition and increased public tendering deliver better services for passengers and better value for taxpayers. This is particularly crucial as Europe's railways receive € 36bn in public subsidies annually.
However, the report also shows that railways are not tapping into the important potential of persons with reduced mobility: 19 per cent of Europeans are not taking the train because of accessibility issues.
Vice-President Siim Kallas, the European Commissioner for Transport, said, 'Rail has significant potential as a green and sustainable mode of transport.
'But to put EU railways on track for the 21st century, it is necessary to take bold measures: streamline vehicle authorisation procedures, increase investment in infrastructure and boost research and innovation in rail.'
The report also confirms that passenger railways have seen huge growth since the mid-nineties in countries such as the UK, Sweden, France and Belgium. High-speed services now represent 25 per cent of all rail traffic in the EU.
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