News 07 Jun 2023

Improved rail travel experience paramount to European rail sector

The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) welcomes the implementation of the new Rail Passenger Rights Regulation (EU) 2021/782, which came into effect today. The regulation applies to the comprehensive landscape of rail services. As such it poses a challenge for the entire EU rail network, but one that introduces a higher level of customer protection while ensuring the continued operation of rail services. Giving passengers the confidence to choose climate-friendly rail ultimately contributes to the goals of the European Green Deal by reducing transport emissions.

The new Rail Passenger Rights Regulation establishes a more robust framework governing the interactions among rail passengers, railway undertakings, infrastructure managers, and ticket vendors, surpassing the standards set for other modes of transportation. This revision introduces several key provisions, which include:

  • Measures regarding the flow of real-time traffic and travel information among the various actors involved in a rail journey, to the benefit of the passengers.
  • A clarification of the liability in case of through-tickets or tickets bundled at the retailers' own initiative.
  • Stronger provisions on re-routing passengers in case of travel disruptions and options for re-routing with alternative public transport.
  • The reduction of the pre-notification period for passengers with reduced mobility requesting assistance.
  • Increased requirements for bicycle spaces on trains.
  • The development of an EU-wide claim form.
  • The re-introduction of the "force majeure" clause, in line with other transport modes but limited to, for example, extreme weather conditions, major natural disasters or major public health risks like COVID-19.

Since the entry into force of the original Rail Passenger Rights Regulation in 2009, the sector has taken the implementation of the Regulation very seriously by investing significant resources to effectively meet the requirements. In view of the entry into force of the updated Regulation, CER members are ready to keep up the good work as they put in place the measures to implement the new legal framework in the best possible way.

CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said: “The paramount objective of the rail sector has always been to ensure the protection of its customers. Amidst growing intermodal competition, today rail passengers benefit from superior safeguards compared to other modes of transportation. The industry has dedicated a lot of resources to implement the new EU requirements and meet the highest possible standards, so as to further improve the attractiveness and competitiveness of the sector.”