Ahead of the fourth trilogue on Rail Passengers’ Rights, the European Passengers’ Federation wrote to MEPs from the TRAN and IMCO committe expressing our worries on the status of the current discussions.

From the preparations in view of the fourth trilogue on 1 October 2020, we get the impression that the Council would like to achieve the following key points:

  • Introduction of force majeure (with a quite broad definition) in case of compensation for delay and assistance to stranded passengers (articles 16(2), 17(8) and 18(2))
  • Exemptions will remain; urban, suburban and regional trains can still be exempted, also if they’re international (article 2(4))
  • Offering a single through-contract for one journey with multiple tickets or operators is still not always required (article 10a(3, 4));
  • The Council wants to reduce the role of independent ticket vendors and tour operators (article 10a(4))
  • Some improvements for persons with disabilities or persons with reduced mobility but not as much as the Parliament wanted.
  • Some improvements for bike transport, with mandatory spaces in new rolling stock

We are very disappointed, as we had seen the recast as an opportunity to make progress in at least four main points essential for passengers:

  1. End of exemptions
  2. Inclusion of contracted regional and suburban services in the scope of the regulation
  3. Safeguarding through tickets (one journey = one contract of carriage, regardless of the number of tickets or operators)
  4. No introduction of force majeure

Based on this approach we don’t see the recast of rail passengers’ rights as progress for passengers and citizens of Europe. EPF doesn’t see how this proposal can fit in the Green Deal, the European Year of Rail 2021 or how this will help in the development of international rail passenger transport. It doesn’t constitute a significant improvement for passengers, just small improvements in some areas, against considerable deterioration in other areas. In addition, better, not worse, passenger rights are needed to get passengers back in the trains after the COVID crisis.

Read the full text here.