Keywords: JEL L51, L52, L92; KEYWORDS: regulation, competition, rail transport
Arenaways was the first private Italian company to enter the Italian rail passenger market on the route between Turin and Milan. Access to the network was delayed by the network operator (RFI), controlled by the same holding (FS) that controls the incumbent rail service company, Trenitalia. RFI also reported to the Office of Rail Regulation (URSF) of the Ministry of Transport on the ground that Arenaways'service might disrupt the profitability of Trenitalia's service contract compensating public service obligations. The URSF agreed with RFI and Arenaways was forced to change its business plan three days before starting operations, on November 10, 2010. Arenaways immediately brought its case to the attention of the Antitrust authority. The results of the inquiry are still to be disclosed (after 14 months). In the meanwhile Arenaways went bankrupt. This and other stories call into question the regulatory framework of Italian railways.