The French Competition Authority has dismissed a complaint against Regie Transport of Marseille (RTM), the public body in charge of Marseille transportation, regarding an invitation to tender for a public service delegation contract to run and manage the Marseille tramway.
On 26 June 2007, the French Competition Authority received a complaint from the association SNTU-CFDT against RTM, regarding an invitation to tender for a public service delegation contract to run and manage the Marseille tramway, organised by the Urban Community of Marseille Provence Metropolis (CUMPM).
SNTU-CFDT asserted that the setting-up of a public consultation by RTM to select a partner in order to develop a consortium to respond to the call to tender was an abuse of a dominant position by RTM, which is fully owned by CUMPM. The complaint also alleged that the consortium involved concerted practices between RTM and Veolia Transport, since it was not justified by a technical or financial need.
The Competition Authority considers that, whilst RTM is in a dominant position in relation to passenger public transport in Marseille, the relevant market is not local but national. Therefore, RTM could have competed for this contract with other significant companies such as Veolia, Transdev and Keolis, which hold together 80% of the national public transportation market, as well as foreign companies.
Furthermore, the Competition Authority dismissed the allegation of concerted practices. Indeed, the public service delegation was justified by the willingness of CUMPM to share the exploitation risks between the City of Marseille and the public service delegate. Therefore, as RTM was owned by the public body CUMPM, it had to contract with a private partner in order to be the successful bidder.
The Competition Authority believes the need to share the operational risk with a private operator is a sufficient justification for the setting-up of a consortium, especially since no key information was exchanged between the companies consulted by RTM for the selection of a partner.
Therefore, the Competition Authority dismissed the complaint against RTM.
Decision of the Competition Authority n° 09-D-18 of June 2, 2009