MTR loses legal challenge against state-owned operator

MTR has lost its legal challenge against Sweden’s state-owned operator after being blocked from selling tickets on its website.

Sweden’s competition authority (FCA) has said it is dropping its investigation into SJ.

MTR is not able to sell tickets for its new MTR Express service between Stockholm and Gothenburg through SJ’s booking website. Although the site is open to other operators, SJ has said it will block those which run trains that are in direct competition with its own services. MTR, however, believes that it is being unfairly singled out.

MTR Express is planning to run 110 trains a week along a 455-kilometre route between Gothenburg and Stockholm, with the first commercial service to launch in March 2015.

Chief executive of MTR Express Johan Soor said the decision not to pursue the case was an ‘error’. Soor also questioned SJ’s argument, pointing out that despite operating what could be considered competing services, Veolia, SL, Blå Tåget and Öresund are allowed to distribute tickets through SJ’s website.

Soor said it was ‘regrettable’ that SJ was allowed to dictate the terms of competition in a liberalised market. Adding that SJ would not be allowed to sell tickets through the MTR website.