While the organisations state that they are in favour of opening domestic passenger markets to competition and the legislative procedure which should lead to the conclusion of the first reading of the railway package in early 2014, the UITP says that compromise amendments on public transport plans, contract volumes, reciprocity, and, in particular, direct award, "undermine its absolute priorities."

These priorities include avoiding legal uncertainties and limiting revisions to regulation 1370/2007 which will open domestic markets to competition without impacting urban and local public transport.

"The modification of the regulation should be limited to the award of rail contracts," says Mr Nicolas Blain, president of the UITIP EU committee. "The very lengthy economic cycles in public transport are not compatible with a shifting regulatory context and legal uncertainty risks putting a brake on the substantial investments which are absolutely necessary for dealing with growth in traffic."

UITP, Epto and Emta consequently urge Tran Committee members to review the current proposals with respect to safeguarding the objectives of legal certainty and to limit changes which could compromise their desired market liberalisation.

"Epto fully supports the European political objective of opening domestic rail markets for competition," says Mr Michel Quidort, Epto chairman. "However, Epto is worried that the current proposals still seem to provide opportunities for discretionary direct award which in parts of Europe could deprive passengers and tax payers of benefits from improved quality and costs which are achievable through liberalisation."