The CNMC urges Adif to lower the fees for Renfe, Ouigo and Iryo

The National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) has warned this Tuesday that the fees charged by Adif, the administrator of the railway infrastructure in Spain, for allowing Renfe, Ouigo and Iryo to pass through its tracks are “much higher” to those that apply in the rest of Europe.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 22:25
9 Reads
The CNMC urges Adif to lower the fees for Renfe, Ouigo and Iryo

The National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) has warned this Tuesday that the fees charged by Adif, the administrator of the railway infrastructure in Spain, for allowing Renfe, Ouigo and Iryo to pass through its tracks are “much higher” to those that apply in the rest of Europe. Specifically, the competition regulator in Spain points out that only the French fees are above the Spanish ones.

The organization urges to lower the calculation of the costs on which the fees are based to align with the European market. The CNMC's position is made public in the midst of a battle between the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Óscar Puente, and Ouigo, the French public company SNF. Puente has been accusing Ouigo of dumping the prices of his tickets for weeks and just yesterday he threatened to go to court to denounce the situation that directly harms Renfe.

The CNMC points out that the use of the Spanish high-speed network is “reduced” despite being the most extensive in Europe and “despite the significant increase in the number of passengers that the recent liberalization of passenger transport has given rise to. the emergence of competition in the three main high-speed corridors.”

The CNMC has already developed an econometric model, which follows international standards, for the correct estimation of Adif's costs, in order to obtain fees comparable to those of surrounding countries. The “efficiency test” as the organization calls it, has identified that the fees in Spain are similar to those in Germany in the Madrid-Barcelona corridor, while in Italy they are significantly lower than those of the Madrid-Barcelona and Madrid-Seville corridors. /Málaga and similar to the rest of the high-speed lines

The report reflects that the railway fees that Adif charges to operators represented up to 91% of the price of the tickets put on sale by Iryo in the first quarter of 2023 and around 49% in the case of Ouigo.

The regulator also corroborates the decrease in prices experienced in high-speed tickets since the launch of Ouigo and Iryo, with an average price of AVE of 65.6 euros, compared to 32.9 euros for Ouigo and 33.3 Iryo euros in Madrid-Barcelona.

Hence the weight of the fees in the AVE is only 32%, but reaches 49% in Ouigo and 91% in Iryo. However, Renfe also applies very low prices on its low-cost trains (Avlo), in which the average price is 39.9 euros, with a fee percentage of 49%.

With this methodology, the CNMC will evaluate whether the distribution among the different segments of the railway market of the cost to be recovered through surcharges is efficient or harms those market segments that are most sensitive to price and will control that the surcharges do not reduce the demand of those segments, except exceptional circumstances such as the one that occurred in the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the first review of the fees after the adoption of this communication, the regulator will check whether the surcharges applied by Adif allow an average efficient operator to profitably offer the services necessary to satisfy the optimal mobility demand of each market segment and whether can provide its services profitably and achieving reasonable use of the infrastructure.