Rail passenger rights: new rules to better protect EU travellers 

Rail passengers can look forward to improved rights ©AP images/European Union - EP  

MEPs have approved new rules strengthening rail passenger rights across the EU, including better support in case of delays and more assistance for people living with a disability.

On 29 April 2021, MEPs approved an update to rail passenger rights covering several key areas and applying in all EU countries and for all types of rail service.

Better rights for people living with disabilities

All EU rail companies have to guarantee free assistance to people living with disabilities or reduced mobility. People with disabilities needing assistance will have to notify railway companies 24 hours before travelling instead of 48 hours. If they need someone to accompany them, that person will be able to travel for free. Access must be guaranteed to assistance dogs accompanying passengers with reduced mobility.

Help in case of of delays or cancellations

If there is a delay of more than 60 minutes, passengers will be able to choose between a full reimbursement of the ticket cost, continuing their journey or re-routing under similar conditions, without additional costs. If necessary, operators must provide meals and refreshments and reimburse the cost of accommodation.

If after 100 minutes from the scheduled departure, passengers are not informed about rerouting options, they can arrange travel by public transport themselves, for which they will be reimbursed.

More information

Rail companies will have to provide travellers with more information about existing rules, for example by including detailed information on passengers’ rights on the tickets. They will also have to be more transparent about deadlines and procedures for complaints.

Bike-friendly trains

At the moment there is not enough spaces for bikes on trains. According to the rules, all new and refurbished trains will have to have dedicated storage areas for bicycles to encourage their use.

Next steps

The new rules will apply in two years, with the exemption of bicycle rules, which will apply in four years.

Did you know that...  
  • If your train is cancelled, you are entitled to a 100% refund  
  • If your train gets stuck, the rail company must get you to the station, an alternative departure point or the final destination