The new Act No 320/2016 Coll., on Regulatory Body for Access to Transport Infrastructure (the “Act”), which was published in the Collection of Deeds on 3 October 2016, establishes the Office for Access to Transport Infrastructure (in Czech: Úřad pro přístup k dopravní infrastruktuře) (Regulator).
The Regulator will be an independent regulatory body headed by a Chairman/Chairwoman who will be appointed by the Government for 6 years (re-appointments are possible). The establishment of the independent regulatory body was an EU requirement. To date, railway regulation has been performed by the Rail Authority, which is directly subordinate to the Ministry of Transport.
The Regulator will be primarily responsible for the transparent access and use of rail infrastructure and related service facilities. In particular, it aims to ensure transparent capacity-allocation schemes for rail infrastructure. It will also settle disputes between infrastructure managers and railway undertakings relating to the access and use of rail infrastructure and will impose fines for rule breaches.
In addition, the Regulator will also have power in respect of the access and use of the road toll system (disputes between the Czech toll system provider and the providers of the European Electronic Toll Service, when introduced) and airport infrastructure (disputes between operators of airport infrastructure and air carriers).
The Act brings regulation in the Czech Republic in line with Directive 2012/34/EU on establishing a single European railway area, Directive 2009/12/EC on airport charges and the Commission Decision 2009/750/EC on the definition of the European Electronic Toll Service and its technical elements.
The Regulator will be established from 1 April 2017. The new law should contribute in to a further opening of the market for passenger railway transport to new undertakings and ensure a stable, transparent and predictable business environment.