Following the rulings of the Regional Administrative Court, the European Court of Justice and the Council of State
Florence, 10 August 2020 – The signing of the service contract marks a major step forward. This is a non-discretionary act that will place local public transport services under the new management of Autolinee Toscane after the transfer of assets. A single operator, instead of the current 22 companies.
The law is clear in this regard: the contract is a legal obligation and an automatic consequence of the final award of the tender in April 2019. This is established by national and international law, the call for tenders, the bridge contract and Article 4 of Legislative Decree No. 76/2020 (the “Simplification Decree”), which stipulates that the signing of the contract must not be delayed further by any appeals for which a stay order has not been granted, as in this case. We have reached this outcome after five years of claims and counterclaims by the outgoing operators, rejected by all the administrative courts, the Regional Administrative Court, the EU Court of Justice and the Council of State, which have never suspended the proceedings, thereby confirming the legality and correctness of the regional authority’s management of the tender process.
Bruno Lombardi, Chairman of AT, commented: “We commend the regional offices and the Council for having successfully completed a courageous and innovative operation. The single tender decision affects procurement savings, quality control, the provision of a consistent, high-quality service and innovation capacity, thanks to greater investment capacity. The single tender award will be the condition for doing all this, for making service quality consistent across the entire region (between strong and weak areas).”
“The staff will be the real protagonists of this change and passengers will be our main focus”: this will be the philosophy of Autolinee Toscane. All staff will be transferred to AT at their current levels of pay and discussions with union representatives for transitioning staff pursuant to the regulations will begin immediately. Chairman Lombardi specified that: “during the launch phase of the new management, we will need all employees to show their commitment. We will need their experience to adapt the corporate structure to changing circumstances (e.g. Covid) and to our aim of improving the service,highly expected by the passengers. We have found major organisational differences between the various outgoing companies and differences in terms of workplaces (ticket offices, offices, workshops and depots), which we would like to standardise, raising the level of monitoring, maintenance and management.”
Mr Lombardi ended by saying: “We also expect the incumbent operators to honour their commitments when handing over buses, workshops and depots, to ensure service continuity. This is in accordance with the precautionary measures and obligations specified on at least two occasions by the Italian Competition Authority.”