RUs to strengthen their voice – Ambassador concept approved
The Railway Undertakings face a very high market pressure from the road and air transport. The customers frequently opt for alternatives, since railways are not always considered as a reliable, flexible, punctual, faster and cheaper means of transport. One of the main reasons is that the current capacity management processes are outdated, not digitalised and fragmented, thus not internationally aligned.
In order to change it, RUs have joined forces with IMs and have developed many business-driven solutions, such as TTR and harmonised European timetabling calendar. Whereas planning is well underway, the concrete implementation shows more difficulties. Most of the IMs are not able to make these crucial changes in the time market would need it and finally unify, simplify and digitalise the capacity management in Europe. The progress reached in the last decade is too low compared with what the business needs, and therefore RUs are continuing to lose market share and business opportunities.
“RUs cannot wait another decade for a market-oriented, harmonised and digitalised timetabling process. Europe has many ambitious goals in doubling railway passenger and freight transport, however, the infrastructure will not double or triple. Thus, we have to use the existing infrastructure more efficiently and provide capacity in a way the different end-customers expect it. A reliable, well-advanced and harmonised TCR planning over borders is necessary. Moreover, we cannot talk about a single European railway area, when we have 35 different processes, they must be harmonised. And this must finally happen in next years.” says Thorsten Dieter, member of the FTE Executive Board.
“The awareness of the TTR programme is low among operation staff, and then they often do not believe in a change until their retirement. Furthermore, in many companies we also see there is no attention to TTR at the high management level. “, explains Edgar Schenk, Managing director of FTE. “It is not to blame anyone but openly admit that the communication from IMs and within RUs has been insufficient. We have to find ways how to start a real change management.”
The FTE Plenary Assembly met on 23 November 2021 and approved that RUs will take a more active role to make improvements happen. It is essential to bring attention to the problems and push for the implementation of European standardised processes.
The first step was the agreement to the “RU ambassador concept”. Over 2022, the FTE community will establish a wider team of ambassadors and the respective platform for their cooperation. Each FTE RU is now asked to nominate a person with a high-level mandate. The ambassador will coordinate activities over various RU departments and initiate the change management. An essential part of her/his work is also to cooperate with other RUs. Only together RUs can promote their business needs much more effectively and create real market pressure. However, it is not only about a strong voice, but also about the cooperation with the IMs. Edgar Schenk adds: “If the IM wants to improve things, but implementation is difficult to reach with all stakeholders, RU ambassadors shall join forces to form coalitions”.