Riga, 4 September 2013
Meglena Kuneva, former European Commissioner for consumer protection and now special adviser on passenger rights to Vice-President Siim Kallas, will be in Riga as ambassador for the promotion of passenger rights on 5 September 2013. During the visit she will meet the authorities in charge of enforcing maritime, bus, air and rail passenger rights and will participate in several meetings with transport and consumer associations. This visit to Latvia marks the beginning of a wider European tour in the context of the Commission's new awareness campaign on Passenger Rights.
Ms Kuneva said: "the EU is the only region in the world where passengers enjoy basic rights when travelling by air, train, ship and bus. However, only 34% of the travellers are aware of their rights. We need to make sure that consumers get to know these rules and how they can benefit from them”.
During the visit, Ms. Kuneva will participate in a stakeholder meeting with the following objectives:
- To increase awareness of passenger rights;
- To collect information on how EU rules on passenger rights for all transport modes are applied in Latvia;
- To further involve stakeholders in the EU Passenger Rights Campaign and in the correct implementation of EU rules on passenger rights.
Ms Kuneva will take this opportunity to meet the Latvian national authorities in charge of the enforcement of passenger rights legislation to discuss practical issues such as assistance to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility as well as cooperation on communicating passenger rights to the citizens.
Ms Kuneva will also participate in the 10th anniversary meeting of the Association of Pan-European Coach Terminals to explain the importance of bus and coach terminals in the implementation of the EU passenger rights Regulation. This meeting is jointly organised with the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the global industry federation with members in 73 countries worldwide which represents the interests of bus, coach, taxi and truck operators.
Yves Mannaerts, Vice President of the IRU, said: “The European bus and coach industry is ready and willing to shoulder its responsibilities under the new EU passengers’ rights legislation, applicable to buses and coaches since March this year. To do so, however, we also need appropriate infrastructure, and in particular terminals, to welcome our passengers in the safest and most convenient way. A free and unrestricted access to other modes’ terminals would also help bus and coach operators to offer higher quality services to their current and future customers.”
In the coming months Ms Kuneva will participate in similar events throughout the EU. During her visits she will personally meet Heads of National Enforcement Bodies (NEBs), passenger rights mediators, organisations of passengers and disabled persons as well as transport operators and tourism companies to discuss the application of the different EU regulations on passenger rights in Member States and how to raise awareness among citizens.
Riga International Airport accounted for nearly 5 million passengers in 2012, being the largest airport in the Baltic States with direct flights to over 80 destinations in 30 countries. Latvia has also a considerable number of passenger ferry connections across the Baltic Sea. Riga International Bus Stations is the biggest transport hub in the Baltic region with nearly 7 million passengers per year.
For more info
The campaign material and more information are available at "Your Passenger Rights At Hand" website.