RegioJet expands in Poland and in Europe

Nothing seems able to stop the Czech private operator RegioJet, which is now planning to tackle the Polish domestic mainline market.  This in addition to their mainline operations in the Czech Republic. The yellow trains want to establish themselves permanently in Central Europe.

RegioJet plans to run its yellow trains between the three major Polish cities of Krakow, Warsaw and Gdansk. The Polish Rail Transport Authority UTK has reportedly received an application from the Czech company to operate a commercial passenger service on the route, which is dominated by the Polish incumbent operator PKP. The application was submitted for a maximum possible period of five years. “RegioJet has declared its willingness to provide a new passenger service from 11 December 2022 to 11 December 2027”, UTK said.

The carrier plans to operate its trains with Siemens Vectron or Bombardier Traxx locomotives pulling between 6 and 10 passenger cars trains. The requested timetable foresees a departure in each direction every two hours, meaning 8 daily round trips. The route would be non-stop between Kraków and Warsaw-Central, after which the trains would stop at Warsaw-Wschodnia, Modlin, Iława, Malbork, Tczew, Gdańsk Główny, Gdańsk Wrzeszcz, Sopot, Gdynia. The journey from Warsaw to Gdańsk will take three hours. The journey times would be similar to the Pendolinos that PKP operates.

In the context of receiving RegioJet’s notification of these new services, Poland must launch an appropriate procedure to examine the economic balance of the new offer in relation to subsidised routes, at the request of transport organisers or competitors.

Offensive on Poland

In spring 2020, RegioJet had already applied for two round trips, but only between Krakow and Warsaw. In the meantime, new public service contracts were signed with the PKP, partly coinciding with RegioJet’s planned timing for the launch of new services. This delayed the procedure and the conclusions to be taken by the Polish regulator UTK.

RegioJet seems to work doubly hard. The Czech carrier plans to launch seasonal trains between Warsaw and Austria and Italy, as well as to the Netherlands and Belgium with a night train between Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam and Brussels. The commercial partner is the Dutch start-up European Sleeper. Regiojet is clearly benefitting from the liberalisation of rail in Europe.

The most advanced project is the launch of a Prague-Przemyśl train, not far from the border with Ukraine (from the city of Lviv). Regiojet is recruiting battalions of hostesses and on-board staff as well as locomotive drivers to operate all these projects.

“In order to provide services in Poland, a carrier from another EU member state must meet several requirements: have a licence, Part A and Part B safety certificates and an open access decision granted”, UTK said. According to the Polish regulator, RegioJet has a Part A safety certificate, which was issued by Czech regulator Drážní úřad and is valid until 7 October 2024, and a Part B safety certificate, which was provided by UTK and is valid until 30 November 2022. It will therefore have to be renewed.


New night train

Last week, Regiojet announced a new overnight train service from Berlin to Slovenia and Croatia, starting next year. “This will give the German capital direct connections to Zagreb and Ljubljana,” spokesperson Aleš Ondrůj said.

RegioJet also launched a new mobile application and website begin August. RegioJet plans to offer a full range of national and international train and bus services in the autumn. The web and mobile application was created by RegioJet’s new digital front-end team, which was established last year as part of the holding company’s new digitalisation strategy. It builds on existing system solutions, but the aim is to bring the customer experience closer to European standards and to cater for the wider range of destinations achievable with RegioJet connections.

For passengers, it means greater clarity of connections over time, the benefits of individual courses, choosing a preferred seat, planning larger trips and notifying or customising a customer account, explains Petr Beťák, Digital Director of Student Agency (Regiojet’s parent company). An example of progress: according to the operator, buying a ticket has become 9 seconds faster, despite the fact that it is divided into several steps.

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Author: Frédéric de Kemmeter

Frédéric de Kemmeter is signalling technician and railway policy observer.

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