EU Parliament boosts rail passenger rights
5 October 2020
Greater transparency in ticket prices, targeted assistance for people with reduced mobility, more spaces for bicycles and a uniform approach to reimbursing travel costs in case of long delays: The European Parliament has issued a new set of measures designed to make EU-wide rail travel more appealing.
The new rules are based on a list of proposed updates to the rights of passengers travelling by train throughout the entire Union, which was first introduced by the European Commission in 2017. After a long series of negotiations, the European Parliament has now agreed on a set of measures aimed at increasing the appeal of rail travel in the EU, promoting competition within the sector and making mobility more environmentally friendly altogether.
This new version of passenger rights will, amongst other things, make ticket prices more transparent and comparable. Similarly to what is already standard practice in air travel, new search engines will make it easier for rail passengers to find the best ticket options with the help of a system that will require rail operators to provide a comprehensive basis of key data. The updated legislation also introduces an obligation to provide assistance to rail passengers in the event of delays or cancellations and uniform rules for ticket price reimbursement in case of significant delays. Particular attention is paid to assisting people with disabilities and/or reduced mobility and the creation of dedicated bicycles spaces and bike racks on trains. The new passenger rights will also apply to regional transport, making them a crucial step towards a standardised and uniform regulation of rail transport within all of the EU.
The provisional agreement has now successfully embarked on its journey through the institutions: Once the text is agreed and voted upon, the rules will enter into force after they are published in the Official Journal of the EU and become applicable 24 months later.