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EU provisionally agrees improved rights for rail passengers

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EU provisionally agrees improved rights for rail passengers

Railway transport - Photo by holzijue on Pixabay

(BRUSSELS) - Guaranteed rerouting and better help for passengers when there are delays and cancellations form part of updated legislation on stronger rights for train passengers agreed Thursday by the EU institutions.

The provisional agreement on the proposed reform of rail passenger rights, agreed by EU Council and European Parliament negotiators, also improve the rights of passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility and help to create more dedicated spaces for bicycles.

"We reached an important agreement today for the future of European rail transport," said Parliament's rapporteur Boguslaw Liberadzki MEP: "We managed to secure the same minimal passenger rights all over the EU when it comes to spaces for bikes, through-tickets and rights of passengers with reduced mobility. Those are important improvements in making rail travel more convenient and passenger-friendly."

Legislators hope the new rules will encourage rail companies to provide more and improved services. In line with the EU's 'Green Deal', passengers will be entitled to take their bikes on board as a general rule. To facilitate this, rail companies will need to create an adequate number of bicycle carriage spaces on board their trains.

The new rules will make through-tickets mandatory if connecting trains are run by a sole railway undertaking, for example when a journey involves a connection between a regional and a long-distance train. A through-ticket is a single ticket which is valid for all or a number of successive train connections in a journey and safeguards the rights to re-routing and compensation in case of delays or missed connections.

While the current regulation allows a large number of exemptions, the new rules will apply to an increased number of services. In addition, the agreed text clarifies passenger rights in case of delays and cancellations, and strengthens the rules on re-routing.

The agreed text introduces a 'force majeure' clause for rail companies so that they are not obliged, in exceptional circumstances, to pay compensation. This will help ensure that there is a level playing field between transport providers representing different modes of transport. The provisional agreement is subject to approval by the Council. The presidency says it intends to submit the agreement for endorsement by EU ambassadors in the coming weeks.

Further information, European Parliament

Procedure file

Legislative train: Recast of the regulation on rail passengers' rights

Current rail passenger rights - Your Europe (European Commission)

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