Rail Passengers’ Rights
A few years ago the EU introduced new right for airline passengers concerned lost or damaged baggage and delayed flights. Those travelling by sea, rail or coach had limited protection but that is changing,. First on the list for change is the rail passenger. A new regulation that came into being this week has given wider protection to the 8 billion passengers who use railways throughout Europe in any year. Of course, the problem with European legislation is that each country has the right to request that some of the rules may be deferred because of local conditions. The bad news is that if any country goes down this track, (sorry about the pun) it could delay things for up to 15 years. (Why such a long time?)
The new regulation has a number of rights but I’ll only mention the more important ones. If your baggage gets lost or delayed compensation could be up to €1,285 for each piece of luggage (that’s over £1,000). If your journey is delayed then you will be entitled to a minimum refund of 25% of the ticket price if the delay is between 1 and 2 hours and 50% if it is over 2 hours. We also must be told about any delays before our journey starts and during it. An advance payment will be made in the case of injury or death. Rail companies will have an obligation about passenger safety.
In our countries we already have some of the rules that they are bringing in. We can appeal to an independent body and each rail company does have a complaints procedure.
There are a couple of things not in the regulation that I would have liked to have seen. The right to be offered the cheapest available fare for the journey given the time of travel so that you don’t get fobbed off with the first ticket that that the seller recalls. The right for that priced ticket to be sold on the trains instead of the standard fare as is currently the statement trumpeted by all guards at the beginning of the journey.
But at least it is a start. And rules for sea and coach passengers should be announced newxt year.