Regional bus and train companies Qbuzz and Arriva, and long-distance coach service FlixBus, all have plans to offer international train services in the coming years.
Transport minister Vivianne Heijnen said earlier she was considering opening international train services to competition and had asked public transport providers if they are interested.
Qbuzz, which operates a train service between Dordrecht and Geldermalsen, Utrecht tram and buses, and some regional services in Groningen and Drenthe, told the Volkskrant it has plans to launch international services to Paris and Berlin in 2027.
The service would require a €200 million investment from parent company, state-owned Trenitalia, the paper said.
Last month FlixTrain, a subsidiary of Germany’s FlixBus, said it hoped to gain space on the Dutch network at the end of 2024 with trains from Germany to Rotterdam via Arnhem, Amsterdam and The Hague.
“It is no secret that FlixTrain wants to operate green trains throughout Europe in the future, and the Netherlands is an interesting destination,’ spokesman Arthur Kamminga told transport news website Treinreiziger.nl earlier.
Arriva, 100% owned by German state railway Deutsche Bahn, also has plans for a daily service between Groningen and Paris and says this will happen regardless of the Dutch concession process.
Last week the company submitted an application to the Consumers and Markets Authority (ACM) to operate an open access service, which would take some five hours.
The open access operating model means the train operator carries all the associated costs and risks with the services, without any government concession or subsidy. Last December Arriva started open access services between Groningen and Schiphol.
The European Commission has expressed concerns about the way most train services in the Netherlands are not put out to tender and has warned that this could be a breach of EU competition law.
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