The Global Passenger Forum was created by decision of UIC’s General Assembly in December 2017 to coordinate all the passenger activities of UIC from a global, strategic and transversal perspective. The goal was to give a better answer to the current challenges faced by the passenger rail sector not only on a European level but also worldwide: liberalization in Europe and growing competition throughout the world, technological changes, globalization, changes in global commercial relations, environmental challenges, policy changes, among others.
The focus of the first meeting was to promote a vision of the railway as a key element in mobility, not only with respect to environmental benefits, since railways are a means of transport that reduces congestion and pollution, but also due to their capacity to free public space in the cities.
The Forum highlighted this key role played by the railway in today’s and future transport, developing synergies among the different fields involved. The organization of UIC’s passenger activities has been structured into five sectors: Intercity and High Speed; Commuter and Regional Train Services; Passenger Services Group (Commercial and Distribution); Stations; and Toprail (Tourism Opportunities).
The role of the railway in transport was also promoted through different forums in the sector —freight, safety, security, energy and sustainability, research, standardisation or digital platforms—, as well as with the participation of other organizations linked with the railway, such as UITP, IATA, OSJD and CER.
The Forum included speeches by Manel Villalante, Director General of Strategy of Renfe and Chairman of the GPF; François Davenne, Director General of UIC and Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director; Huo Baoshi (CR), chair of the Intercity and High-Speed Committee (ICHSC); Bartłomiej Buczek (PKP/SKM), chair of the Commuter and Regional Train Services (CRTS); Roberta Rizzo (Trenitalia), chair of the Passenger Services Group (PSG); Carlos Ventura (Adif), chair of the Station Managers Global Group (SMGG); and Carles Casas (FGC), chair of the Tourism Opportunities (Toprail).
There was also a speech by special guest Arturo Azcorra, professor at Universidad Carlos III of Madrid, Director of Imdea Networks and Vice-President of the 5Tonic Laboratory, entitled “The 5G revolution and its impact on the railway sector”.