On the 22nd of June, EPF addressed a letter to the European Parliament’s TRAN and IMCO committee expressing our concerns around the recast of Rail Passenger Rights.

From the preparations in view of the third trilogue on 23 June 2020, we got the impression that the Council would like to achieve the following key points:

  • Introduction of force majeure 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));
  • No obligation to offer a single through-contract for one journey with multiple operators; just the information must be improved (article 10a). So not much change compared to today. In practice this will mean a deterioration because more and more operators are emerging, and in future one journey will more often involve multiple operators;
  • 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)
  4. Deletion of force majeure.

Based on this approach we can no longer see that the recast of rail passengers’ rights can be evaluated as progress for passengers and citizens of Europe. EPF doesn’t see how this proposal can fit in the Green Deal or in the coalition of the willing for the development of international rail passenger transport. It doesn’t constitute a significant improvement for passengers. Just a small improvement in some areas, against considerable deterioration in other areas.

EPF’s full letter to European Parliament, TRAN and IMCO committee can be read here.