Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 establishes a set of basic rights as of 3.12.2009 for rail service passengers.
Starting December 2009, rail passengers in Europe have to be informed comprehensively and in the most appropriate format. Particular attention shall be paid in this regard to the needs of people with auditory and/or visual impairment.
Such information encompasses:
- Which general conditions apply to the contract?
- What is the fastest trip and which has the lowest fares?
- Are there facilities for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility as well as passengers with bicycles while entering the train and on board?
- Are there seats in smoking and non-smoking compartments, in first and second class as well as couchettes and sleeping carriages?
- Will the journey be disrupted or delayed?
- What kinds of services are offered on board?
- Where and how can I reclaim lost luggage and submit my complaint?
Information during the journey:
Which services are offered on board?
- Which is the next station?
- Is the train delayed and if yes, when it is expected to arrive?
- Which main connecting services are available?
- What do I have to take into account in terms of security issues?
The railway companies shall enable passengers to bring their bicycles on to any train, if they
are easy to handle, if it does not adversely affect the specific rail service, and if the rolling stock so permits.
Delays and cancellations
Once a delay of at least 60 minutes is foreseeable, the passenger shall immediately have the choice between:
(i) Reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket or for the part of the journey not made and for the part already made if the journey is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the
passenger’s original travel plan. Furthermore, in this case the passenger is eligible for a return service to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity.
(ii) Continuation of the journey or re-routing under comparable conditions to the final destination at the earliest opportunity or to the final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience.
In case the passenger continues his or her journey despite a delay, he or she is entitled to compensation. The minimum compensation for delays is:
- 25 % of the ticket price for a delay of 60 to 119 minutes,
- 50 % of the ticket price for a delay of at least 120 minutes.
The compensation of the ticket price is paid within one month after the submission of the request for compensation at the latest. The traveller is not entitled to compensation under certain conditions, if for instance the cancellation, delay or missed connection has been caused by circumstances which the carrier could not avoid, in spite of having taken all due care required in the particular case.
The company has the duty to inform travellers of delays and cancellations of trains as soon as such information is available.
In case of any delay of at least 60 minutes, passengers have to be offered free meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time.
Moreover, the railway company has to offer free hotel or other accommodation as well as the transport between the railway station and place of accommodation, in cases where a stay ofone or more nights becomes necessary due to the delay. If the train is blocked on the track, the railway company has to arrange transport from the train to the railway station, to an alternative departure point or to the final destination of the service, where and when physically possible. If the railway service cannot be continued anymore, the company has to organise as soon as possible alternative transport services.
Railway undertaking liability
Liability in case of cancellation, late running of trains or missed connections:
- The carrier shall be liable to the passenger for loss or damage resulting from the fact that, by reason of cancellation, the late running of a train or a missed connection, his journey cannot be continued the same day.
- The damages shall comprise the reasonable costs of accommodation as well as the reasonable costs occasioned by having to notify persons expecting the passenger.
- The carrier shall be relieved of this liability, when the cancellation, late running or missed connection is attributable to one of the following causes:
(a) circumstances not connected with the operation of the railway or the behaviour of a third
party which the carrier, in spite of having taken the care required in the particular circumstances
of the case, could not avoid and the consequences of which he was unable to prevent;
(b) fault on the part of the passenger.
Liability in case of damages to hand luggage, animals, registered luggage, vehicles
- In case of death of, or personal injury to, passengers the carrier shall also be liable for the loss or damage resulting from the total or partial loss of, or damage to, articles which the passenger had on him or with him as hand luggage. In such case, compensation up to a limit of 1 400 units of account per passenger shall be provided by the carrier. In other cases, the carrier shall not be liable for the total or partial loss of, or damage to, articles, hand luggage or animals the supervision of which is the responsibility of the passenger, unless this loss or damage is caused by the fault of the carrier.
- The carrier shall be liable for loss or damage resulting from the total or partial loss of, or damage to, registered luggage.
- The carrier shall be relieved of this liability to the extent that the loss, damage or delay in delivery was caused by a fault of the passenger and to the extent that the loss or damage arises from the special risks inherent in one or more of the following circumstances:
(a) the absence or inadequacy of packing;
(b) the special nature of the luggage;
(c) the consignment as luggage of articles not acceptable for carriage.
- If carriage governed by a single contract is performed by several successive carriers, each carrier, by the very act of taking over the luggage with the luggage registration voucher or the vehicle with the carriage voucher, shall be responsible for the carriage over the entire route up to delivery.
- Where the carrier has entrusted the performance of the carriage, in whole or in part, to a substitute carrier, the carrier shall nevertheless remain liable in respect of the entire carriage.
- In case of total or partial loss of registered luggage, the carrier must pay, to the exclusion of all other damages:
(a) if the amount of the loss or damage suffered is proved, compensation equal to that proved amount, but not exceeding 80 units of account per kilogram of gross mass short or 1 200 units of account per item of luggage;
(b) if the amount of the loss or damage suffered is not established, liquidated damages of 20 units of account per kilogram of gross mass missing or 300 units of account per item of luggage.
- In case of damage to registered luggage, the carrier must pay compensation equivalent to the loss in value of the luggage.
- In case of delay in delivery of registered luggage, the carrier must pay in respect of each whole period of 24 hours after delivery has been requested, but subject to a maximum of 14 days:
(a) compensation equal to the amount of the loss or damage proven by the passenger, up to a maximum of 0,80 units of account per kilogram of gross mass of the luggage or 14 units of account per item of luggage, delivered late;
(b) if the passenger can not provide the proof of the loss or damage, compensation will amount to 0,14 units of account per kilogram of gross mass of the luggage or 2,80 units of account per item of luggage.
- Delays in loading a vehicle, total or partial loss of the vehicle: in case of delay in loading or in delivering a vehicle for a reason attributable to the carrier, the carrier shall pay compensation not exceeding the amount of the carriage charge.
- If, in case of delay in loading for a reason attributable to the carrier, the passenger chooses not to proceed with the contract of carriage, the carriage charge shall be refunded to him.
- In case of total or partial loss of a vehicle the compensation payable to the passenger shall be
calculated on the basis of the usual value of the vehicle, but up to a maximum of 8 000 units of account.
Source: European Commission Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007