The European Commission has presented a new initiative to modernise rail passenger rights

On 28 September 2017, the European Commission proposed to update the European rules on rail passenger rights.

The Commission wants to guarantee adequate passenger information, improve the rights of passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility and recognise that rail operators can, under strict circumstances, be exempted from having to compensate passengers in the event of delay.

In particular, the Commission proposal concerns:

  • Passenger information and non-discrimination: the Commission intends to improve provision of information about passenger rights by printing it on the ticket, specify if passengers who use connected services with separate tickets must be informed on whether their rights apply to the whole journey or only to the different segments and prohibit discrimination on the basis of nationality or residence.
  • Uniform application of the rules: also long distance domestic, cross-border urban, suburban and regional services will be required to follow passenger rights rules.
  • Rights for persons with disabilities or reduced mobility: passengers will have mandatory right to assistance on all services and full compensation for loss or repair of mobility equipment. Furthermore, rail staff must receive disability awareness training.
  • Enforcement, sanctioning and complaint-handling procedures: application and enforcement of passenger rights and procedures for complaint handling will have clear deadline and procedures.
  • Proportionality and legal fairness: in the event of delays caused by natural catastrophes rail companies will be exempt from having to pay compensation.


Davide Scavuzzo