With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for rail passengers.
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Considerable growth in passenger transport in the EU and a wider choice of transport operators has led the EU to consider that passengers should benefit from the same standards of treatment, regardless of how and where they travel. It has therefore adopted a common set of 10 basic rights for rail, air, road and waterborne passengers, to provide them with information and assistance and forbid discrimination.
If you are a train passenger, you may know that additional specific rights and obligations have been in force since December 2009. As a passenger, you must be kept informed before and during your journey, for instance on the lowest fares, delays, access conditions and facilities for people with disabilities.
In the event of a foreseeable delay of more than one hour you can choose between a refund (full or partial) of your ticket, continuation, or rerouting to your final destination. You can also get assistance: meals, refreshments and, under certain conditions, accommodation. If you continue your journey, you can get 25 % to 50 % delay compensation.
Involvement in a train accident, entitles you to compensation and to advance payment for immediate needs. You are also entitled to compensation if a registered piece of luggage is lost or damaged. Disabled people have the right to assistance in stations and on board trains; and passengers can bring easy-to-handle bicycles onto the train. If you are dissatisfied with the service you receive, you can complain to the railway company. The Commission published a fresh proposal on rail passenger rights in September 2017.
- EPRS publication on ‘Rail passenger rights in the European Union’, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2016/593566/EPRS_ATA%282016%29593566_EN.pdf
- EPRS publication on ‘Rail passenger rights and obligations’, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/it/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI%282016%29587352