MTR files competition complaint against SJ

Photo: Johan Hellström/MTR Express.
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Open access operator MTR Express has complained to the Swedish Competition Authority about SJ’s refusal to allow MTR to sell its tickets through the website.

MTR Express, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s MTR group, has filed a formal complaint with the authority, accusing SJ of abusing its dominant position in the market by not allowing competitors to sell tickets on the country’s biggest ticket sales website.

Mats Johannesson, chief executive of MTR Express, said in a statement that SJ ‘distorts competition in the market and makes it difficult to invest on an equal footing’.

Sweden’s passenger rail market was deregulated in 2010, allowing private operators to launch new services in competition with the national operator SJ.

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The European Union’s Fourth Rail Package promotes even greater competition and liberalisation of Europe’s rail markets.

SJ said its focus was on its customers and it does allow operators that offer services to destinations not served by SJ to sell tickets on the site.

In 2015, MTR Express launched a new intercity service between Gothenburg and Stockholm with a fleet of new trains supplied by the Swiss manufacturer Stadler.

It is up to MTR Express to invest in its own marketing channels, said SJ.

Snälltåget, which is owned by Transdev, is one of the operators that has been allowed to sell its tickets through the site. Although it competes against SJ on the Malmö-Stockholm route, it also runs services that don’t directly compete with SJ.

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