The European Committee on Transport and Tourism voted on Wednesday to approve stricter regulations protecting passenger rights for train users.
Adjustments to the current rules included an increase in the percentage by which passengers could be refunded for delayed or cancelled transport, from 50 per cent of the ticket price for delays of between 60 and 90 minutes, 75 per cent of the ticket price for a delay of 91 minutes to 120 minutes and 100 per cent of the ticket price for delays of more than 121 minutes. According to existent passenger rights legislation, the current entitlement is 25 per cent of the ticket price for delays of 60 to 119 minutes and 50 per cent for a delay of 120 minutes or more.
MEPs approved new rules which would compel newly built and refurbished trains to include space for bicycles in order to encourage cycling. Passengers will be able to access information on their rights more easily at stations and on trains; and one proposal would see information about passenger rights printed on train tickets.
They amended existing rules to ensure free assistance at stations for people with disabilities and reduced mobility, where necessary; adding that rail companies would be held fully liable for loss of or damage to mobility equipment and loss of or injury to service animals; and that the companies would be responsible for fully compensating passengers on these occasions.
The rules currently in place concerning passenger rights, which were introduced in 2009, are only fully observed by five Member States: Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovenia. Rail passengers in Europe travel more than 500 billion km per year.
Having been approved by the transport committee, the proposed rules will now go to the full house of the European Parliament for a full vote.
A more in-depth version of this report will be printed in Government Europa Quarterly 28, available in January 2019.