Passengers studying a timetable (Photo: SBB).

EUROPE: On May 5 the European Commission formally adopted the Telematics Applications for Passenger Services Technical Specifications for Interoperability, designed to ensure key timetable and ticketing information can be exchanged between EU rail companies and ticket vendors (RG 1.11 p61).

TAP TSI requires the provision of computerised fare and timetable data for services on the trans-European rail system. Many operators already provide this voluntarily, encouraged by UIC, and TAP TSI sets out protocols for harmonised data on the type of service, when and where it calls, accommodation types, available unreserved seats and tariff structures.

The Commission stresses that implementation 'will not happen overnight'. Stakeholders have only just begun designing communication systems based on TAP TSI, and 2016 is seen as 'realistic target date' for the first applications.

The Commission's aim is to allow a 'new generation of European rail journey planners and ticketing systems to start to emerge', and next year it will put forward a legal measure requiring operators to bring their IT systems and practices into line so that the standardised data can be exchanged and used.

The Commission says these systems will not necessarily provide multi-mode or multi-operator through tickets, as this will be dependent on balancing the legal obligation to exchange data with each organisation's own commercial interests in a competitive market.

  • On April 1 the Commission began public consultation on work needed to enable the development of multi-modal journey planners. Details will be set out at a conference the Commission is organising in Lyon on June 6.