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European Parliament Improves Rail Passenger Rights Rules

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The European Parliament has approved the upgrade of current legislation on rail passenger rights across the EU, which foresees higher compensation rates for delays and better assistance to people with reduced mobility.

The amendment in legislation includes the increase of compensation for delays longer than an hour, from 25 percent to 50 percent of the ticket price. Passengers have the right for compensation, in addition to maintaining the right to continue the journey or be rerouted.

Passengers will be entitled to 75 percent of the ticket price for a delay of an hour and thirty minutes and 100 percent of the ticket price for delays of more than two hours.

To avoid passengers being left stranded after a missed connection, MEPs clarified that in the case that a passenger has been issued several tickets for a multi-leg journey, the rights to information, assistance and compensation are the same as under a through-ticket.

MEPs also rejected proposals to exempt rail operators from paying compensation in case of “extraordinary circumstances”.

Photo © AP images/European Union - EP

Photo © AP images/European Union – EP

In addition, according to the amendment, assistance for people with reduced mobility should be free of charge and available at larger stations, without the need to give prior notification.

MEPs also reduced the time for pre-notification in case assistance is needed at smaller stations and clarified the responsibility of rail operators and station managers for fully compensating passengers, if they have caused loss of or damage to mobility equipment.

pixabayFurthermore, the amendment foresees that passengers are entitled to take bicycles on board the train, including on high-speed trains, long distance, cross-border and local services, the adopted text says. New and refurbished trains must have well‑indicated spaces to transport assembled bicycles.

MEPs backed an earlier phase-out of temporary exemptions used by a number of member states to apply only parts of the 2009 passenger rules on domestic rail services. These exemptions should end at the latest one year after the entry into force of the amended rules.

MEPs also want the rules to apply to suburban rail services.

The revised legislation passed with 533 votes in favor, 37 against and 47 abstentions. Once the Council adopts the Parliament’s position, the negotiations can start on the final wording of the new rules.

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