Concessions and tenders
Transport concessions are needed in order to transport passengers via the main railway network. With a transport concession, a company has the sole right to transport passengers. A concession also contains obligations.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M) determines who may fulfill the concession on the main railway network and who may manage the railway. The provinces and urban regions determine which company will handle train travel in the regions.
The current transport concession, with obligations regarding the frequency, punctuality, cleanliness and social safety of the Dutch Railways (NS), runs from 2005 to 2015 and was granted privately at the time. In June 2010 the concession was changed. Recently, the minister has decided not to put the new concession (from 2015 to 2025) out to tender but grant it privately to NS.
The current management concession, with requirements for the availability and reliability of the railway network and the accessibility and social safety of the stations, has been granted to ProRail. This concession extends until 2015.
Tendering for regional transport by train
Via the tendering procedure, a transport company can obtain a transport concession from the province or urban region for a certain area. The company then has sole rights to provide public transport in that region for a number of years.
There are more than 30 regional lines in the Netherlands.
Tendering for urban and regional transport
The provinces and urban regions determine which company will provide regional transport by bus, tram or underground in which regions. This is done via public tendering. The urban and regional transport has been contracted out everywhere except in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague.
Tendering and concessions
Via the tendering procedure, a transport company can obtain a concession from the regional government for a certain area. The company then has the sole rights to provide public transport in the region for a number of years. The goal is to increase the quality and effectiveness of urban and regional transport due to tendering.
Tendering of transport in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague
The bus, tram and underground transport in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague has still not been contracted out. The government wants the urban regions to make a start with this. The ministry is in consultation with the three large cities concerning the achievement of its ambitions for good public transport. In the elaboration of the necessary cutbacks, emphasis is being put on efficiency improvements. Gains can be made by emphasising the important links (the principal axes of the tram and underground). This means that lines and stops used by only a few people must be critically examined.
The state makes approximately 1.8 billion euros available annually to the urban regions and provinces for regional mobility; the majority is spent on the operation and maintenance of regional public transport.