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eDreams ODIGEO calls for transparency in the European railway market to promote intermodality, consumer choice and environmentally smart travel

  • eDreams ODIGEO welcomes Article 10 of the Rail Passenger Rights Regulations and further calls on the EU and member states to strictly enforce the regulation to create a smarter multimodal EU transport ecosystem.
  • As a one-stop shop for travel with 100 million daily user searches, eDreams ODIGEO has the power to significantly impact consumers’ transportation choices. If granted the opportunity, the Company could empower users with increased multimodal transportation options, expanding consumer choice and fostering environmentally smart decisions. However, current limitations imposed on independent travel retailers impede this vast transformative potential.
  • The European Commission and member states should strictly enforce Article 10 to enable customers of online travel agents to more easily access rail tickets, allowing them to compare routes and combine a variety of modes of transport.
  • eDreams ODIGEO has proven the potential impact of smart multimodal mobility which provides consumers with greater choice, flexibility and environmentally smart decisions. On routes where rail content is somewhat available, eDreams ODIGEO successfully incorporates rail segments in 25% of bookings. In EU regions lacking open access to train content, this valuable opportunity for consumers and the environment remains untapped.
  • ​​eDreams ODIGEO, as a member of EU Travel Tech, also joins the call for the EU to re-evaluate its approach to the proposed Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS) legislation. The Company urges European policymakers to facilitate effortless, integrated bookings across various modes of transportation, empowering consumer choice, healthy competition and advancing sustainable mobility across the EU.

eDreams ODIGEO, the world’s leading travel subscription platform and the world’s largest flight retailer outside of China, welcomes the application of Article 10 of the Rail Passenger Rights Regulation across the EU. Article 10, which came into force, mandates that dominant or state-owned rail companies must make real-time dynamic travel data and travel information accessible to independent ticket vendors and enable agents to retail these products without unfair restriction or penalty. These regulations will better enable travellers to compare different modes of transport, supporting customer choice and competition, and improving the cost-effectiveness and convenience of travel in the EU. 

Article 10 will also be critical in supporting Europe’s sustainability goals, particularly the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, better enabling customers to make more environmentally friendly travel choices by comparing and combining different transport modes. 

Such is the importance and potential impact of the regulation changes, eDreams ODIGEO further calls on the European Commission and the national enforcement bodies of member states to strictly enforce the new rules for the benefit of EU consumers and the environment. The enforcement of Article 10 of the Rail Passenger Rights Regulation will deliver increased choice to consumers while contributing to a better future environment, thus aligning with the mandate and obligations of the European Commission.

Independent retailers have large customer bases; eDreams ODIGEO, for example, serves 20 million customers worldwide every year. This means these companies can play a significant role in presenting more choices and smarter travel combinations to EU and global travellers who currently see their mobility options restricted in countries where access to rail fares is not made available to the wider retail market. Including rail as an option alongside other transport modes within a travel one-stop-shop facilitates customers’ ability to make more informed choices, enabling them to combine different modes of transportation within a single booking.  

Guillaume Teissonniere, General Counsel at eDreams ODIGEO said: “Consumers increasingly want smarter intermodal travel but have often found their options limited. This lack of competition has restricted consumer choice and held back progress in decarbonising our transport system. We could be doing far more to facilitate and inspire smarter transportation combinations, and providing easier access to rail tickets through the application of Article 10 is an essential step forward. It is critical now that EU regulators and member states enforce this regulation so it has the desired impact in terms of improved customer choice and the move to a smarter EU-travel eco-system.”

Until now, independent retailers have not been able to obtain and retail rail tickets from EU rail operators under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions (FRAND) and often face significant marketing restrictions if tickets are made available by operators. Similarly, even in countries where tickets are made available, dominant, often state-owned, operators regularly use their near-monopoly positions to favour their own distribution channels or impose terms on independent operators that are so disadvantageous that retailing these products has proved commercially unviable. 

Currently, rail ticket availability across EU member states differs for independent retailers. In Italy, where partial access to rail content is granted, eDreams ODIGEO’s travel data reveals that 25% of sales on certain routes now integrate rail segments within the itinerary. However, on various routes in France, rail sales make up 0% of the total, indicating a lack of rail ticket availability through independent retailers in that market. This highlights the disparity in rail ticket accessibility among different distribution channels and countries within the EU. The current limitations hinder the independent retailers’ ability to fully leverage their potential in promoting smarter multimodal transportation choices.

Attila Fodor, Head of EU Regulatory Affairs at eDreams ODIGEO said: We have been advocating for years for a regulatory intervention so all EU consumers have adequate access to travel services and unbiased travel information. The availability of comprehensive fare options, information on delay, reservations and availability would enhance consumer choice throughout the Union while promoting healthy competition in the EU transportation market, aligning with the European Commission’s mandate. More importantly, this would also end the current discrimination between passengers based on their choice of distribution channel. Article 10 is an important move in the direction of a fairer, more sustainable European transport network, and, moving forward, we hope that new legislation can effectively apply these important principles universally across all modes of transport for the benefit of consumers and the environment.”

Research from eDreams ODIGEO also shows that providing better rail options through independent retailers reduces emissions in other ways. For example, in markets where the company is able to offer rail tickets already in some form, the number of car hires booked as an add-on to a flight is significantly reduced, with bookings instead directed towards train journeys.

Beyond Article 10, eDreams ODIGEO calls on the European Commission to ensure that the Multimodal Digital Mobility Services legislation currently being planned by EU policymakers in fact mandates data sharing obligations on a fair and non-discriminatory basis. The European travel technology industry represented by EU Travel Tech, of which eDreams ODIGEO is a member, voiced its strong concerns regarding the presented scope of obligations for transport operators. The MDMS Regulation must give consumers the possibility to book all relevant offers in one place. Otherwise, the Regulation will have no added value and will conserve the unsatisfying status quo in which comparison and combination across operators and transport modes are limited. In the 21st century, European consumers expect hassle-free bookings with the ability to book all sorts of transport modes and combine these transport offers. A consumer wants to be able to see different choices, sort them, and book. eDreams ODIGEO urges the European Commission to deliver on its mandate of empowering consumer choice, healthy competition and advancing sustainable mobility. The EU should unleash the potential of multimodal digital mobility services as modal shift and competition enablers by obliging booking through independent channels based on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions.

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