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News (13/03/2015)

Rail Passenger Rights: protection of passengers still far from reality, shows Commission report

In the past five years, only four Member States have fully applied the Regulation on rail passenger rights, while 22 have granted exemptions to varying degrees, shows a report published today by the European Commission. The report also stresses that the extensive exemptions have led to legal insecurity for both passengers and the rail industry. Looking at the future, the report findings show that only one more Member State will fully apply the rules. A level playing field for railway undertakings and a high level of protection for passengers in the EU is therefore still far from a reality.

Commissioner Violeta Bulc, responsible for Transport, said: " The protection of passengers when travelling in Europe is a cornerstone of European transport. If Member States don't change anything, travellers won't fully benefit from their rights. Therefore this modern piece of legislation, in favour of Europeans, risks becoming an empty shell."

Rules on rail passengers' rights apply, in principle, to all rail passenger services in the EU. However, the Regulation gives the possibility to Member States to grant exemptions to certain domestic services, either to ease the phasing in of the Regulation or to take into account the specificities of certain services, notably the urban, suburban and regional ones. The rail services that can be exempted are:

  1. Domestic services for a maximum period of five years, renewable twice;
  2. Urban, suburban and regional services;
  3. Services or journeys of which a significant part is operated outside the EU for a maximum period of five years. This exemption may be renewed.

The report provides a factual overview over the situation of rail passengers' rights in the EU in the past five years, since the entry into force of the Regulation on 3 December 2009. The projection on the future application of the rules, i.e. the renewal of the exemptions, is based on information provided by Member States and is subject to future changes.

For more information

Exemptions granted by Member States under Regulation (EC) 1371/2007 on rail passengers' rights and obligations

EU Passenger Rights

Passenger Rights campaign

Passenger rights smart phone app