Online rail ticketing. The Commission opens a formal investigation against Renfe

On 28 April 2023, the Commission opened a formal investigation to assess whether Renfe, the Spanish state-owned rail incumbent operator, may have abused its dominant position by refusing to supply all its content and real-time data to rival ticketing platforms.

Renfe sells its tickets offline and online either directly via its websites and apps and mobility platform or indirectly through third-party ticketing platforms, which display offers from different rail carriers and provide customers with online searching, comparison, booking and payment services, therefore needing to have access to Renfe’s full content and real-time data to tailor their offers to the customers’ needs.

The Commission, however, has concerns that Renfe may have restricted competition in the Spanish market for online rail ticketing services by refusing to provide third-party ticketing platforms with full content concerning its range of tickets, discounts and features and real-time data related to its passenger rail transport services. More particularly, the refusal to supply this content and real-time data may prevent the platforms from competing with Renfe’s own direct digital channels to the detriment of consumers, thereby amounting to an abuse of dominant prohibited by Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Marco Stillo