The European Commission is updating its rules pertaining to rail passenger rights in a bid to ensure their protection in case of delays, cancellations or discrimination.
The new proposals address five key areas, under which the commission intends to guarantee adequate passenger information, protect their rights throughout the European Union and significantly improve the rights of passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility.
The proposals also introduce a ‘force majeure’ clause under which rail operators can be exempted from compensating passengers in the event of delay under certain circumstances.
European Commission Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said: “Thanks to the EU, passengers have a full set of rights no matter where they travel in the EU. Yet there are still too many European train travellers and commuters who aren't properly informed about their rights.
“That is what we want to fix with our new proposal. I am confident that our initiative will strengthen the sector, striking the right balance between the protection of travellers and the competitiveness of the rail sector.”
The new proposals include the uniform application of rules in domestic and cross-border journeys and aim to improve provision of information about passenger rights.
The commission intends to prevent every form of discrimination on the basis of nationality or residence, and calls for transparent deadlines and procedures for complaint handling and to clearly define the responsibilities of national authorities in charge of the application and enforcement of passenger rights.
These proposals will now be analysed and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council before their implementation.