Lessons from the tendering of railway services in Sweden: Are some contracts better than others?

Lina Jonsson

Provision of non-commercial railway services in Sweden is the responsibility of regional Public Transport Authorities. In spite of substantial real increases in fares, patronage of subsidised railway services has increased by 4.6 percent per year over the last 20 years. To provide an understanding of this development the paper addresses the way in which the responsibility for public transport is organised. One feature of the organisation is that the design of tendering processes and contracting formats are not streamlined but differ across PTAs. Data about the particular contracts in use are however patchy and partly incomparable, making it difficult to establish whether one or the other contract design contributes better to sector performance. It is therefore not feasible to base an understanding of how traffic growth has been affected by sector internal performance on a rigorous analysis. It is argued that voluntary or forced implementation of a system for performance assessment is necessary in order to reduce waste.

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