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EU opens probe into unfair practices by Spain's state rail group Renfe

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
EU opens probe into unfair practices by Spain's state rail group Renfe
High-speed AVE train operated by Spanish national railways company RENFE (R) next to high-speed train of private operator Iryo of ILSA company at Atocha station in Madrid. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

The EU said Friday it has launched an in-depth probe into Spain's state rail operator Renfe over concerns it had abused its dominance in the country's rail transport market.

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The investigation will "assess whether Renfe may have abused its dominant position in the Spanish passenger rail transport market by refusing to supply all its content and real-time data to rival ticketing platforms", the European Commission said.

The commission, the bloc's antitrust regulator, said such platforms display offers from different rail carriers and provide customers with online search, comparison, booking and payment services.

"These platforms need to have access to Renfe's full content and real time data to tailor their offers to the customers' needs," it added in a statement.

There is no deadline for the probe to be wrapped up but the commission invited Renfe to propose solutions to address its concerns.

Renfe said it would "fully cooperate" with the probe, adding in a statement it hopes "to reach a consensual solution".

The liberalisation of Spain’s rail service began in May 2021 when French company Ouigo became the first company to operate trains in Spain that weren't part of state provider Renfe. Prior to that, Spain's state rail provider had had a complete monopoly of the market.

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Renfe responded by launching its own low-cost branch, Avlo

And then there's Iryo, the newest player in Spain’s cheap train travel games, which began operations in November 2022.

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