Better and more robust rights for rail passengers

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Parliament and Council negotiators reached a provisional political agreement on stronger rights for passengers travelling by train.

The updated legislation on rail passengers’ rights will guarantee rerouting and help passengers when there are delays and cancellations, improve access and assistance to people with reduced mobility, and help to create more dedicated spaces for bicycles.

“We reached an important agreement today for the future of European rail transport. We managed to secure the same minimal passenger rights all over the EU when it comes to spaces for bikes, through-tickets and rights of passengers with reduced mobility. Those are important improvements in making rail travel more convenient and passenger-friendly,” said rapporteur Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D, PL).

Rerouting and assistance in case of significant delays

If delays of over 100 minutes occur, the rail operators will be obliged to reroute passengers in any way possible and assist travellers to find the best alternatives, as is the case with air carriers.

Under the new rules, rail operators would have to provide through-ticketing on all their routes, covering all legs of the journey with a similar high level of protection.

Assisting people with reduced mobility

The deal includes a shorter pre-notification obligation and better assistance for disabled people. Travellers with reduced mobility should notify the operator of their travel plans 24 hours in advance (under current rules, they have to notify the operator 48 hours in advance).

Refurbishing trains for more bicycles

In an effort to provide more sustainable mobility and comfortable alternatives, all trains will have to be equipped with dedicated spaces and racks for bicycles.

The provisional agreement also ends the existing exemptions for long-distance domestic services by December 2024 and provides more clarity on what can be considered a force majeure.

The new passenger rights will cover also regional services and will include the rerouting obligation, through-ticketing option and assistance to all passengers, especially to those with reduced mobility.

Next steps

The Council will adopt its first reading position once both institutions confirm the provisional agreement. The Parliament will vote on the agreed text formally in the second reading.

The agreed rules will enter into force after they are published in the Official Journal of the EU and become applicable 24 months later.

Background

The European Commission tabled the proposal to modernise the European rail passengers’ rights that are in force since 2009 in September 2017.

Negotiations for the updated passenger rights began in January 2020.

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