On 15 November 2018, the plenary session of the European Parliament has adopted at first reading, under the ordinary legislative procedure, its position regarding the amendments of Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations. Once the Council has adopted its position, the negotiations can start on the final wording of the new rules.

The proposal is aimed at guaranteeing a uniform application of European rail passengers’ rules, upgrading passengers’ rights and phasing-out temporary exemptions used by Member States.

The text adopted by the Parliament provides for higher compensation payments in case of delays, while maintaining the right to continue the journey or be rerouted. For delays longer than an hour, the new compensation will amount to 50% of the ticket price, instead of the current 25%. For delays of at least an hour and thirty minutes the compensation rate will be 75%, while for delays of more than two hours passengers will be entitled to a full refund of the ticket price. Moreover, rail operators will not be exempted from paying a refund in case of “extraordinary circumstances”.

To enhance the access of people with reduced mobility, assistance in larger stations will be provided free of charge and with no need for a prior notification. In smaller stations the time for prior notification will be reduced. Rail operators and station managers will be fully responsible if they have caused loss of or damage to mobility equipment and will have to compensate passengers.

Thanks to the adopted text, European trains will be more bike friendly. In fact, both new and refurbished trains, including high-speed trains, long distance, cross-border and local services must have well-indicated spaces to transport bicycles.