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The recast of Regulation 1371/2007 (EC) on Rail Passenger Rights and Obligations passed with 533 MEPs voting in favour, 37 against and 47 abstentees means more protection for railway passengers.
The recast increases compensation for delays of more than an hour from 25% to 50% of the value of the ticket. Passengers will be legally entitled to 75% compensation for a delay of more than 90 minutes and a full refund if a train is more than two hours late.
Amendment 27 provides that:
“The minimum compensations for delays shall be as follows: (a) 50 % of the ticket price for a delay of 60 to 90 minutes, (b) 75% of the ticket price for a delay of 91 minutes to 120 minutes, (ba) 100% of the ticket price for a delay of 121 minutes or more.”
For passengers making multi-leg journeys with several tickets, rights to information, assistance and compensation will be the same as those for a direct ticket.
Amendment 27 provides that “In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission to adopt a standardized Union complaint form that passengers may use to apply for compensation in accordance with this Regulation.”
MEPs rejected proposals to exempt rail operators from paying compensation in the event of “extraordinary circumstances.”
More space for bikes: In addition, the recast also includes provisions to ensure new and refurbished trains have “well-indicated spaces” to accommodate assembled bicycles and MEPs have backed an earlier-than-planned phase-out of temporary exemptions used by a number of member states to only partially implement the 2009 rules to domestic services. These exemptions will end within a year of the recast coming into force.
“Today is a great day for consumer rights,” says the recast’s deputy, Mr Boguslaw Liberadzki. “Soon passengers will be able to take bicycles on every train and persons with reduced mobility can rely on better assistance at stations and on trains. Parliament takes consumer rights very seriously, so we are also proposing higher compensation payments in case of delays and want to ensure that passengers on journeys which involve more than one connection and who have been issued separate tickets have the full protection of the rules.”
The Community of European Railways and Infrastructure Managers (CER) claimed that the newly-adopted delay compensation thresholds and the elimination of the force majeure principle may add around €600m a year to the costs of Europe’s train operators.
Despite the European Passengers’ Federation (EPF) and the European alliance of new rail entrants, AllRail calling for a mandatory missed connection protection, such provision was not included in the recast.
While carriers in other modes of transport such as air travel are able to cover longer journeys such as London to Milan on their own, rail passengers often have to rely on making a connection with two or more operators when making similar trips.
“If the first operator is delayed and a viable connection is missed, passengers should still be able to continue to the final destination of the entire journey at no extra cost”, the passenger rail lobby groups say in a joint statement.
MEPs adopted the Parliament’s position on the revision of rail passenger rights’ rules with 533 in favour, 37 against and 47 abstentions. Once the Council has adopted its position, the negotiations can start on the final wording of the new rules.
Find the adopted text here.
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by Frédéric PELOUZE, Weclaim Founder and Director
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