On December 2, 2019, the European Council agreed its position on the proposed reform of rail passenger rights which will improve the rights of passengers, in particular of those with disabilities or reduced mobility, ensure more uniform application of the rules and improve the provision of information. The proposal revises the current regulation, from 2007, which applies to both domestic and international journeys and services.
The new rules will promote the use of ‘through-tickets’, which cover successive railway services operated by one or more companies. The proposal also creates a level playing field between transport modes by introducing a clause for exceptional circumstances (force majeure).
In addition, the proposal will create a level playing field between transport modes by introducing a clause for exceptional circumstances (force majeure).
“These new rules will strengthen the rights of all passengers, including those with reduced mobility. They will also provide clarity when there are delays and cancellations. At the same time, they will encourage rail companies to provide more and better services, which will increase the popularity of this environmentally friendly means of travel,” said Sanna Marin, Finland’s Minister for Transport, chair of the meeting held on December 2.
The Council position creates clear rules and defines clear responsibilities with regard to the provision of rail transport services for people with disabilities or with reduced mobility, including in cases where stations are operated unstaffed and trains have no accompanying personnel. It clarifies the rules on compensation for loss of, or repairs to mobility equipment. Personnel providing help to persons with disabilities or reduced mobility will receive training so that they know how to meet the different needs. The Council has also aligned the text with the recent Accessibility Act to make sure the rules are consistent.