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EU Parliament wants rail passenger rights beefed up

15 November 2018
by BEUC -- last modified 15 November 2018

The European Parliament today voted to upgrade rail passenger rights.


The Parliament wants to increase the compensation consumers should receive if their trains are severely delayed or cancelled. MEPs also want to make it compulsory to sell a 'through ticket' for combined journeys, which is when, a consumer books a journey which has more than one leg. This is to prevent railway companies from selling separate tickets for different segments of a journey, which allows them to bypass existing obligations relating to compensation, rerouting and assistance.

Another positive development is that MEPs brushed aside the idea to exempt rail operators from paying compensation in cases of 'extraordinary circumstances'. Allowing this exemption could have been a real loss of passenger rights and would lead to replicating the difficulties consumers experience frequently with airlines.

Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), said: "Rail passengers will get their rights upgraded if the Parliament gets its way. It's only fair that consumers get proper compensation when their train has been delayed or cancelled, because disruption has a knock-on effect on people's plans and schedules. The introduction of through tickets will close a loophole which rail operators have used too frequently.

"MEPs were right to ditch the argument that compensation to consumers was not necessary in 'extraordinary circumstances'. It would have opened up an unnecessary gap in the net to protect rail passengers."

BEUC acts as the umbrella group in Brussels for its members and our main task is to represent them at European level and defend the interests of all Europe's consumers. BEUC investigates EU decisions and developments likely to affect consumers, with a special focus on five areas identified as priorities by our members: Financial Services, Food, Digital Rights, Consumer Rights & Enforcement and Sustainability.

European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)