Competition for the German regional rail passenger market 5 years after regionalization
The paper investigates the competition for regional passenger rail services in Germany from 1996 to 2000 by using data mainly provided by regional authorities. It analyses data on the level of network characteristics, contract life, the Länder (i.e. regions), competitive placing procedures, and their winners as well as achieved cost and services improvements. It finds that with competition being rare, the amount of competitively placed services declined until recently. Only about half of the regional authorities gained experience with competitive placings, which points at the expertise deficit of these bodies. A diverse picture on competitive placings' characteristics such as network size and contract life appears. State-owned carrier DB AG remains the dominant player as it could win the majority of the competitively procured services. Private companies have played a minor role in the game up to now. Accomplished reduction of subsidies and improved service quality respectively provide an indication of the potential for enhancing efficiency in this market.