A group of leading travel associations, including BT4Europe and GBTA, has called for the EU not to water down the scope of the new Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS) regulation.
MDMS is an EU regulation that aims to make it easier for travellers to plan, compare and buy tickets digitally for journeys combining different modes of transport in the EU and is expected to help make booking international rail travel easier. The European Commission is expected to outline its final proposals for MDMS imminently.
A coalition of 10 industry organisations, including BT4Europe, GBTA, EU Travel Tech and Transport & Environment, has sent an open letter to the European Commission’s executive vice-president Frans Timmermans urging him to ensure a “high level of ambition” for MDMS.
“From the beginning, the coalition has advocated for the EU to streamline the booking process for multimodal transport journeys involving different modes and operators, allowing travellers to book all relevant offers in one place,” said the groups in a statement.
“This integrated approach has the potential to play a vital role in encouraging a modal shift towards rail and aligning with the EU’s climate goals.
“However, the coalition has recently become aware of the Commission’s consideration to reduce the ambition of the MDMS proposal by discarding the central aim of integrated booking.”
The groups argue that MDMS would not meet its objectives if it fails to provide passengers with access to integrated booking and ticketing options.
In the letter to Timmermans, the coalition adds: “If the MDMS regulation were to only focus on giving passengers access to ticketing data and then relinking to transport operators’ websites, it will have failed in its fundamental objectives of making consumers lives easier, facilitating new services and reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions through a modal shift towards more sustainable transport.
“This approach would mean that the anti-competitive practices of dominant operators, which prevent integrated booking via independent distribution channels aimed at limiting comparison and combination across operators and modes, will not be addressed.”
The coalition urged the commission to “unleash the potential of MDMS” by ensuring that booking and ticketing can be made through third-party channels “based on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions”.