The Agency's task in railway transport is monitoring competition on the passenger and freight transport markets. The Agency also performs supervision regarding the independence of the railway infrastructure in the vertically integrated company and the transparency of its financial operations. If the Agency discovers any violations of free competition or the regulations, it takes action in accordance with the Railway Transport Act and other regulations detailing railway transport. The Agency also rules on complaints related to:
- the network programme and the measures it sets,
- the procedure of assigning railway paths and decisions in this procedure,
- the provisions related to determining and billing usage fees,
- equal access to public railway infrastructure,
- providing access to additional services and how they are billed,
- traffic management,
- the plans for renovations and planned and unplanned maintenance of railway infrastructure,
- compliance regarding the independence of the railway infrastructure in the vertically integrated company and the required transparency of its financial operations, and
- other questions that are of key importance for the equal use of public railway infrastructure.
When reaching decisions on individual administrative matters the Agency adheres to the law detailing administrative procedure, unless individual matters are defined differently in the Railway Transport Act.
The Agency's decision is final and compulsory for all the parties in the procedure, however, an administrative dispute may be launched against them.
Liberalization of the railway services market
The core principle of the European Union is to form a single European market, and the precondition for the realization of this objective is the sustainable development of the traffic network. Member states have begun performing measures to gradually open their services market to cross-border competition in railway transport.
The railway transport services market began opening to cross-border competition in two steps:
- Until 1 January 2006 carriers from European Union countries were able to obtain the right to access the railway infrastructure of an individual European Union member state for providing services in the international freight transport under equal and fair conditions. As of 1 January 2007 this right was extended to all types of services of railway goods transport in all European Union member states.
- As of 1 January 2010 carriers in passenger railway transport from European Union countries obtained the right to access the railway infrastructure for providing services in the international passenger transport. As of 16 June 2018 this right was extended to the services of transporting passengers in the internal railway transport.
In order to provide fair and non-discriminatory access to the railway infrastructure and free competition of services in railway transport, European Union member states have established independent regulatory bodies.