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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/43

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission
(12 March 1998)

On grounds of subsidiarity and because the Commission wishes to promote a commercially minded approach
among train operators, the Commission has no current plans to propose the imposition of requirements of the
kind outlined by the Honourable Member.

As set out in the ‘The Citizens’ Network’ green paper (1), the Commission aims to encourage people to choose
public transport, cycling or walking for more of their journeys. Making it easier to combine the use of bicycles
and trains is an useful way of doing that, and the carriage of bicycles on trains has a role to play alongside
measures to improve cycle storage at stations.

The Commission’s view is that there are two appropriate ways to encourage the carriage of bicycles on trains.
First, public authorities may include requirements to do this when they specify public services to be provided by
operators. In line with the Community’s general approach to public services, it is for authorities in Member
States to define the services they wish to see provided. Requirements should be clearly defined, and operators
compensated if fulfilling the requirement causes net costs.

Second, the Commission wishes to encourage train operators to carry bicycles because it could often be in their
own commercial interests since, demand among cyclists for the ability to travel by rail with their bicycles can be
substantial. Through its policies to promote the Citizens’ Network, the Commission aims to help to make such
arrangements more common. A specific example is its recent decision to provide grant-aid for the planning phase
of the EuroVelo international cycle routes project, sponsored by the European Cyclists’ Federation. One of the
main objectives of this project is to promote cycle tourism and that should increase the demand for transport of
cycles by train to key points on each cycle route, a factor which will be specifically taken into account in the
planning of the network.

An obligatory European requirement for train operators to carry bicycles would impose high costs on operators if
the design of the trains or heavy usage made carriage of bicycles impractical. A requirement to carry bicycles
without charge, as suggested by the Honourable Member, could reduce the revenues earned by some operators.
In achieving the objectives of the Citizens’ Network, it is vital to promote a business-like approach among train
operators and the external imposition of requirements of this kind without compensation, however desirable in
their own right, would contradict to this approach.

The Commission is currently managing a research cooperation project on passenger accessibility of heavy rail
systems (COST 335) with a view to developing European standards for the design and operation of trains,
stations and information services. While the main focus of the project is the needs of people with reduced
mobility, it is likely that many of the train design features examined will also benefit people with bicycles.

(1) COM(95) 601 final.

(98/C 304/59) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0163/98
by Anita Pollack (PSE) to the Commission
(2 February 1998)

Subject: Battery hens

Will the Commission set in train some research on the economic effects of phasing out battery egg production on
those farms or companies that currently use these methods so that measures can be planned to ensure that they are
helped to move to less intensive methods in the future?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission
(13 March 1998)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to the answer given to her written question E-115/98 (1).
The communication to the Parliament and the Council will indicate the economic effects of the measures
proposed, including estimations on the consequences of phasing out the current battery cage systems.

(1) See page 33.