European trains will no longer arrive late with impunity

Par thierno - 5 October, 2020 - 09:06

The Council and the European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on the reform of rail users' rights. Delays of more than 100 minutes will force operators to offer an alternative means of transport. An article from Euractiv Italy.

The new rules, agreed by the Council and the European Parliament on 1 October, will make the single ticket compulsory for journeys involving connections between regional and long-distance trains, to guarantee compensation for passengers in the event of delays or missed connections.

If a train is delayed by more than 100 minutes, rail operators will be obliged to offer passengers an alternative way of reaching their final destination, including by air.

"Today we have reached an important agreement for the future of European rail transport," said a delighted MEP Bogusław Liberadzki, rapporteur for the S&D Group. "We have managed to guarantee the same minimum rights for passengers throughout the EU.

The text also provides for an innovation that eases the constraints imposed on people with disabilities. They will only have to notify the operator 24 hours in advance of their planned trip, as opposed to 48 hours at present.

To promote more sustainable mobility and provide comfortable alternatives, all trains will have to be equipped with dedicated spaces and bike racks. In addition, the agreement will put an end to the exemptions for long-distance trains by December 2024 and clarifies the notion of "force majeure".

Regional services will also be obliged to apply the new passenger rights, the European Parliament states in a note. This includes the obligation to re-route, issue tickets and provide assistance to all passengers, especially those with reduced mobility. The agreement has yet to be approved by the Council.

Valentina Iorio