On Tuesday November 7th, Marc Debrincat, delegate of the Fédération Nationale des Associations d’Usagers des Transports (FNAUT, founding member of EPF), represented EPF at the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) anniversary event of the CIV uniform rules.
The first International Convention concerning the Carriage of Passengers and Luggage by Rail (CIV) entered into force in 1928. This year, the CIV uniform rules have been in effect for 95 years. To commemorate this milestone, OTIF organised a day of discussions with stakeholders to review these rules and their applicability to today’s situation. EPF was invited to take part in this event to share feedback from the passenger perspective.
In his intervention, Marc analyzed the effectiveness of passengers’ rights in the face of ticket dematerialization and multimodality. He highlighted four main points of improvement:
- Improve railway undertakings’ communication with passengers regarding information on their rights
Some articles of the CIV on passenger rights seem either unnecessary or poorly applied in practice. Among Marc’s other points, he indicated that even if a reference to the CIV rules appears on international tickets issued by railway undertakings, this is not very informative for the passenger. He also stated that the lack of agents in stations leads to difficulties when proving cancellation or delays and therefore entitlements.
- Clarify the practical scope of assistance
Many provisions related to assistance raise practical questions about their application. Marc highlighted that some articles are outdated and that contact between the passenger and the carrier is not often easy for the rail passenger. Here again, without human presence from the rail carriers, legal provisions and conditions in favour of the passenger are either unclear or cannot be sufficiently implemented (e.g. rail or non-rail re-routing, accommodation and assistance).
- Improve the application of passenger rights
Passengers are often unaware of their rights and should be better informed about practices related to compensation, liability, and voluntary cross-subsidization procedures for international passengers for example.
- Multimodality and paperless tickets
Passengers must have information about their rights for the different segments of their journey. In a combined system, often without any human presence from the operator, provisions related to delays or assistance are unclear for the passenger.
In conclusion, Marc observed the obsolescence of certain provisions in the CIV. He noted that the passenger is in a fragile position between commercial provisions and a regulation on rail passengers’ rights and obligations (PRR) that has been drafted in a cautious or even overcautious manner, or in some cases is difficult to apply in the field. As such, interpretative guidelines could enable harmonization and clarification in a more fluid manner.