On Friday (17.04), offers in the tendering procedure for a five-year contract for railway services in the Warmian-Mazurian Voivodeship were opened. The ProKolej Foundation is of the opinion that launching the tender let the local government keep a comparable price level of railway services. At the same time, there are some comments that the services could even be cheaper if officers would not run out of courage at the last stage of the correction of the tender specifications.
After numerous postponements of the deadline and protests against some provisions of the tender specification, final offers for the performance of collective public transport within the railway passenger transport from the beginning of 2016 to 31.12.2020 were filed in the Marshal Office of the Warmian-Mazurian Voivodeship on the 17th April 2015. As it was an open tender, it was possible to avoid a situation which happened in the Opole Voivodeship, where Przewozy Regionalne, sure of winning the tender, threatened with performing 30 % transports less and dismissing 20% of the staff if subsidies would not go up. A lot of things indicated that the scenario for the Warmian-Mazurian province would be similar to the one of the Opole Voivodeship as a unit grant offered for each kilometer of the railway service has increased by 22% since 2011 whereas the number of connections dropped by 11%.
Even in the case of an open tender, the offer of Przewozy Regionalne exceeded the reserved budget by PLN 30m. The value of the Przewozy Regionalne’s offer was PLN 246,9m for the performance of the five-year railway service, 3 million train-kilometers per year. On the other hand, a unit grant of slightly more than PLN 16,5 confirms that presence and proactivity of potential competitors have made the offer calculation more realistic and limited the monopolistic inclinations.
However, the ProKolej Foundation perceives that as partial success only. Due to the fact that the tender specification excluded realistic competition, the offer was ultimately submitted by Przewozy Regionalne only. Arriva RP, one of the competitors, sent an official letter instead of an offer, where they presented the reasons precluding them from filing the offer. They mentioned that the tender had been announced too late and that the conditions were favourable to a current railway carrier. Other licensed passenger carriers did not submit their offers at all.
The other comments are dominated by the belief that another opportunity for realistic competition, which would mobilize the railway market and give a realistic, non- illusory choice of a service provider to the marshals, has been wasted. The tendency to reduce the railway transport despite exceeding the budget of a local government has not been broken. And the citizens of the voivodeship are actually paying a double price as they finance the railway sector not only by paying taxes but also by buying tickets.