S&Ds push for higher quality rail services and more protection for passengers, especially those with disabilities

The Socialists and Democrats led today a large cross-party majority in the transport committee to improve the existing regulation on rail passengers’ rights and obligations. The adopted report, drafted by the S&D MEP Bogusław Liberadzki, aims to improve the quality of rail services, which should help to increase the share of the use of rail in EU transport.

The proposed new rules strengthen the compensation in the event of delays, make the information given to passengers clearer and improve the assistance for passengers with reduced mobility. In addition, the transport committee deleted a ‘force majeure’ clause as proposed by the Commission that would allow rail operators to avoid paying compensation in the event of certain delays.

EP vice-president and S&D MEP Bogusław Liberadzki, who is the EP rapporteur on the Rail Passengers’ Rights, said:

“Today is a great day for consumer rights. The transport committee has voted to update the Rail Passengers’ Rights this morning, strengthening the rights of passengers when using Europe’s extensive railway network.

“Firstly, regional railway services will be included into the rail passenger rights, making sure that delay compensations are also paid for these services, which make up a large share of the railway market. Secondly, the compensation payments in the case of delay will be increased without any force majeure clause. Therefore, if your train is delayed due to bad weather, the railway company must compensate you.

“Thirdly, the carriage of bicycles on board any train of the European Union will soon be reality, making sure that our citizens can combine the advantages of mobility by rail and by bike.

“Finally, the railway systems will become more accessible for persons with reduced mobility. These persons won’t have to inform large railway stations about their travel plans in advance any more, and even at the smallest railway station, such pre-notification won’t be necessary more than twelve hours before starting the trip. Furthermore, the outcome of today’s vote ensures that all railway stations in the European Union have to provide assistance to persons with reduced mobility”.