HSL negotiating a transitional agreement with VR
HSL and VR are negotiating a new agreement on commuter train services during the transitional period 216 – 2021. VR has made a proposal to HSL which would achieve significant savings and speed up the replacement of old rolling stock by summer 2017.
If HSL approves the offer, the tendering of commuter train services would be postponed by three years. The new agreement with VR would replace the existing agreement from April 2016 and would run until summer 2021 when the tenderer services would start.
If the negotiation do not result in a Letter of Intent in line with HSL’s goals by the end of April, the preparations for the tendering of commuter train services will proceed as scheduled. In this case, the tendered services will start in June 2018.
The cost savings generated by VR’s proposal would amount to about 30 million euros over a five-year contract period compared to the current cost level. The savings are of the same magnitude as those generated by tendering: HSL has estimated that tendering would enable a 15 per cent cut in the costs. In VR’s offer, the biggest savings would be achieved towards the end of the contract period.
“The transitional agreement would allow HSL’s passenger to enjoy the benefits of tendering earlier. The longer period for preparation also lowers risks. If the tendering is carried out only after the changes in the rail network, operation of the services and ticketing system, the conditions for possible bidders are more stable than at preset,” says HSL Executive Director Suvi Rihtniemi.
HSL’s goal is that the punctuality, safety and customer service of VR’s train services remain at a high level also in the new agreement. The savings to be achieved will in turn ease the pressure to increase ticket prices. The agreement does not affect the operation of train services. In the new agreement, VR is ready to commit itself to the changes that promote tendering in the future. For example, the Ilmala depot will be opened for other operators.
“VR’s offer is a good example of how HSL’s activities to open the services for tendering are already achieving benefits to passengers,” says Rihtniemi.