The European Commission is proposing an implementing Regulation that creates a standard form to make it easier for rail passengers to request reimbursement or compensation from railway companies when rail services are cancelled or delayed (more info here).
In principle, EPF supports the introduction of a uniform, standard form for reimbursement and compensation requests, to make it easier for passengers to claim their rights under the Rail Passenger Rights Regulation. In order to reach this objective, such a form, targeting the general public, must be simple, short and easy to fill in.
However, the proposed form is currently hyper-detailed, unduly complex and far too long, which would likely deter anyones goodwill to proceed with their claims.
Hence, we strongly recommend that the form be simplified and made more user-friendly:
- Required input should be kept to a minimum. Lots of questions are not necessary. For example, date and train number (or a booking number, if it refers to a train-bound ticket) are sufficient for railway undertakings to verify and check if the claim is justified or not.
- For many people, the difference between reimbursement and compensation is not clear. It should be the responsibility of railway operators to check which option applies and is most beneficial to passengers.
Experience shows that submitting a claim by e-mail often doesnt work. Therefore, a structured online procedure for dealing with reimbursement and compensation requests should be made mandatory. This would make it easier both for passengers and railway undertakings to deal with complaints.
Both the pdf form and the online form must be available in barrier-free, accessible format.
Wherever technically possible, automatic reimbursement and compensation processes should be implemented, saving all parties time and effort. In the UK, such scheme (Delay Repay) has been applied for years by all train operators.