Mobility and Transport

Passenger rights

Passenger Rights: European Commission welcomes provisional agreement to strengthen protection of rail passengers

Passenger Rights: European Commission welcomes provisional agreement to strengthen protection of rail passengers

02/10/2020

The European Parliament and Council yesterday reached a provisional agreement on modernising rail passenger rights.

European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport Adina V─âlean said: "After three years of negotiations and cooperation with the Parliament and the Council, we finally have an agreement on the rail passenger rights. The new regulation means better protection for our European passengers in case of delays, cancellations, missed connections or discrimination. It also means more trust in the rail companies. I particularly welcome the progress to better respond to the needs of people with disabilities or reduced mobility and the legal clarity we achieved, both for consumers and companies."

The agreement ensures enhanced passenger protection in cases of travel disruption, and clarifies enforcement and complaint-handling rules. It also provides for better access to information, and significantly improves the rights of passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility. In addition, the new rules will guarantee more space for bicycles. New trains and trains that have undergone major renovations will need to dedicate space to carry an adequate number of bicycles.

Finally, the proposed agreement clarifies the extraordinary circumstances (such as extreme weather conditions or pandemic), in which operators would be relieved from paying compensation as they could neither avoid these events nor prevent their consequence). However, in such cases, passengers still have the right to a reimbursement of the full ticket price, re-routing and assistance. This is in line with the legislation applicable to the other transport modes.

The adoption of this Commission's proposal will increase attractiveness of rail as a sustainable traffic mode, in line with our intention to promote 2021 as the European Year of Rail and the objections of the European Green Deal. The Commission proposed in 2017 to update EU rail passenger rights to better protect train travellers in case of disruption. Both co-legislators are required to formally adopt the agreement before it can become law.