Rail passenger rights: new rules to better protect EU travellers 


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MEPs have backed new rules strengthening rail passenger rights across the EU, including higher compensation in case of delays and more assistance for people with disabilities.

Every year passengers travel some 500 billion kilometres on Europe’s rail network and Parliament wants to ensure they are protected.

On 15 November MEPs voted in favour of modernising rail passenger rights. The proposed updates cover several key areas and would apply in all EU countries and for all types of rail service. They were approved by Parliament's transport committee on 9 October.

Better rights for people with disabilities

All EU rail companies would have to guarantee free assistance to people with disabilities or reduced mobility. They would also have to ensure full compensation for lost or damaged mobility equipment and for lost or injured trained animals.

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

Compensations for delays

When a train is severely delayed, passengers could either request a refund of the full ticket price or continue the journey and ask for a partial reimbursement. MEPs back the idea of increasing compensation, depending on the length of the delay.

Existing rules

New proposal

Delay between 60 and 120 minutes: 25% of ticket price

Delay between 60 and 90 minutes: 50% of ticket price

Delay between 90 and 120 minutes: 75% of ticket price

Delay > 120 minutes: 50% of ticket price

Delay > 120 minutes: 100% of ticket price

Uniform application across the EU

Currently only five EU countries fully apply existing rules on rail passenger rights: Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovenia. Others have exemptions for long distance domestic trains and for cross-border urban, suburban and regional services. MEPs want member states to stop using exemptions at the latest one year after the new rules enter into force.

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. MEPs want new trains to have dedicated storage areas for bicycles to encourage their use.

Next steps

Once the Council has voted on its position, the Parliament can start negotiations with member states.

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