Back to list Print 25. Apr. 2019

Competition Council manipulates with facts and information in “Rīgas satiksme” case

In the news story published by LETA news agency on 24.04.2019, the head of the Competition Council,  S. Ābrama, publicized information that the fine imposed on RP SIA “Rīgas satiksme” in the "nano-water" case is already a fifth violation in the company’s operations since 2017. This information does not correspond to the actual situation. Actually, the head of the  Competition Council has pronounced RP SIA “Rīgas satiksme” guilty of infringements, although in none of the cases  mentioned by S. Ābrama a court judgement came into force or at least a case was initiated within the meaning of the Competition Law.

As can be seen from the information which is publicly available on the website of the Competition Council, only three judgements were taken in connection with RP SIA “Rīgas satiksme”, and none of them ended in imposing a fine on the company.

In case No. 19 of 2017, the parties – "Rīgas satiksme", SIA "Pilsētas līnijas" and SIA "JCDecaux Latvija" have agreed themselves not to amend the already signed contracts in order to avoid possible violations of competition. The case is closed.

In case No. E02-5 of 2017, the Competition Council accused RP SIA “Rīgas satiksme” and PS “Rīgas of a prohibited agreement in the situation where one company is a subcontractor of the other. It shall be reminded that public transport tariffs (ticket prices) within an administrative area are set by the local government, not carriers. The decision of the Competition Council has not come into force, but the judgement of the Administrative District Court is favourable to RP SIA “Rīgas satiksme”.

RP SIA “Rīgas satiksme” has already noted that none of its executives has been ever involved in the so-called “Nano-water case”. It may be concluded from the public statements made by the Competition Council that there were attempts to fine RP SIA “Rīgas satiksme” for what the Competition Council believes is good management, but not for violations of the Competition Law. The decision has not come into force, and will be appealed against. Interestingly, that when initiating the case back in 2017, the Competition Council did not impose fine on the companies that were directly involved in the prohibited agreement, but waited until they liquidate themselves.

As for the case of using wheel blockers, here RP SIA “Rīgas satiksme” is in a significantly different situation, because the use of the wheel blockers is regulated by an external regulatory enactment and RP SIA “Rīgas satiksme” is the operator of public parking lots ensuring the implementation of the transport policy set by the city authorities. No case was initiated over the violations specified in the Competition Law. At least in this situation, the Competition Council is aware of the fact that it lacks grounds specified in the Competition Law to initiate a case.

In the case of Riga resident’s card discounts, it is also a part of implementing the transport policy. There are also technical limitations which do not allow offering discounts to users of platforms of other service  providers at the moment. Still, there are no circumstances specified in the Competition law, and RP SIA “Rīgas satiksme” works together with SIA “Rīgas karte” to give all the stakeholders access to providing parking and public transport ticket selling services by the end of this year.

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