Here you find FAQs regarding the Swedish Public Transport System and Svensk Kollektivtrafik (the Swedish Public Transport Association).
Can you give some basic information about Sweden?
About 9 million people live in Sweden, the size of which is 450.000 km2. The administrative system consists of 21 counties and 290 local authorities. Most people live in the southern part of the country. Especially the mountainous north of Sweden is very sparsely populated.
Who is politically responsible for public transport in Sweden?
The responsibility for public transport (“PT”) development is divided among many authorities. The role of Government is mainly to secure good conditions for co-ordination and development of PT are created. This is done mainly through legislation and investments in traffic infrastructure. The Government also provides grants for research and development within the transport field. There are no governmental grants for local and regional public transport services.
The Swedish Transport Administration began operations on 1 April 2010. It is a public authority that takes on responsibility for long-term planning of the transport system for road, rail, maritime and air traffic. The Swedish Transport Administration has a large responsibility to advance the development of public transport.
Local and regional public transport in Sweden is characterized by county-wise coordination under a Public Transport Authority (“PTA”), which is politically and financially responsible for all local and regional public transport within the county. The public transport authorities (competent authorities) are organised either as a federation or committee of local authorities together with the County Council in each county or the County Council being the public transport authority. Financing of public transport services follows the responsibility either with a joint financing by local authorities and the county council or only finance by the county. Parallel to PT services allowing public service obligations there is since Jan 2012 a total open market for commercial services and exclusive rights are not allowed following the public transport act from Jan 2012.
How are the PTAs organised? How do they operate?
As a general rule the PTA of each county is organised either as a federation or committee of local authorities together with the County Council in each county or the County Council being the public transport authority. PTA is responsible for all local and regional public transport services following Public service obligation and with competitive tender for contracts. The local regional public transport services is organised in an integrated system with integrated fares and information for each county.
The advantages of this form of organisation are:
- good conditions for traffic planning and for the application of uniform rates for all sections of services,
- changing between different means of transport is facilitated as well as information about available output by way of departure and arrival times, changing points etc.,
- the co-ordination also provides opportunities for a more effective use of resources and for a decrease in the need for deficit contributions from society.
The members of the board of the PTAs are politicians from the county and from the local authorities.
The most common form of supplying public transport services to customers is through procurement. Over 95% of all local and regional PT services in Sweden are procured under competition by the PTAs.
Since when have the PTAs been able to use competitive tendering procedures?
The possibility to procure traffic under competition has proven to be decisive factor for a positive development. Procurement has not only led to reduced traffic costs but also to fulfilment of other important public goals such as public transport with better environmental qualities, improved road safety and better accessibility for the disabled. It is doubtful whether it had been possible to reach these goals so quickly if a public transport authority had not existed in the different counties.
The milestones of the Swedish PT-history can be summarised as follows:
- The Public Transport Authority reform in 1978: Each region was to establish a PTA with the above mentioned qualifications..
- The 1988 Transport policy decision. Transport authorities became responsible for county rail services. Government contribution towards operational costs during ten years. Government grants for investments in public transport infrastructure etc.
- In 1989, the public transport authorities became responsible for all local and regional scheduled transport, i.e. public transport by bus, train and boat. The possibility for procurement via competitive tendering was established.
- From January 2012 a new public transport Act is in place based on responsibility of local and regional public transport in each region (county) following public service obligations and parallel an open market for commercial services and no exclusive rights. . The responsibility of the PTA is ruled by the EU regulation 1370/2007 being included in the public transport act from Jan 2012.
Which kinds of contracts exist between the PTAs and the operators?
Basically, it is possible to classify the contracts as follows:
- Gross contracts: This is the dominant contract form in Sweden. The operator undertakes to produce an agreed amount of transport services. Compensation is paid to the operator while all ticket income goes to the PTA. The compensation is generally not linked to the number of passengers. However, certain forms of positive and/or negative incentives for reliability, punctuality, cleaning services etc. have been developed.
- Net contracts: The operator receives a (rather small) fixed amount from the PTA for the produced traffic, but is in addition given the right to receive and keep ticket revenues. Consequently, the operator takes a higher economic risk. In order to be able to influence the number of passengers to match to this risk, the operator may be in charge of route planning, fares etc.
What is the Svensk Kollektivtrafik (the Swedish Public Transport Association) and how is it organised?
The Swedish Public Transport Association is a service organisation for our active members – regional public transport authorities and county transport companies.
We also have associated members in the form of interest groups, suppliers and consultants to the sector.
Our operations are financed through membership and service fees, and through our own income in the form of participant fees for conferences. We are also externally financed within various projects.
Our main tasks are:
• to analyse and represent the interests of our members in operative matters, both nationally and internationally,
• to develop and follow up guidelines and recommendations within important areas such as the environment, security/safety and availability,
• to spread knowledge and contribute towards competence development and the exchange of experience through different channels and meeting places,
• to help strengthen the public transport brand name.
Which other Sweden-wide organisations are relevant in the public transport business?
A number of Swedish organisations are described below. Please find a complete list (and their web-links) on this website under Medlemmar:
Svenska Bussbranschens Riksförbund: The Swedish Bus and Coach Federation (BR) is the trade organisation of the professional bus and coach operators in Sweden. For more information please visit www.bussbranschen.se
Tågoperatörerna: The Association of Swedish Train Operators is the trade organisation of the professional train industry in Sweden. For more information please visit www.tagoperatorerna.se
Svenska Taxiförbundet: The Swedish Taxi Association is the trade organisation för the country's taxi operators. For more information please visit www.taxiforbundet.se
Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting: Local authorities and counties have a joint responsibility within each county for local and regional public transport. The Swedish Associaion of Local Authorities and Regions is an organisation that represents the interests of all Swedens's local authorities, counties and regions. For more information please visit www.skl.se
Samtrafiken: manages Resplus, a system for performing long-distance connection journeys in Sweden using only one ticket. For more information please visit www.resplus.se