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It aims to provide significantly improved protection to rail passengers in the event of travel disruptions.
It also aims to respond better to the needs of persons with disabilities or reduced mobility.
The regulation applies to international or domestic rail journeys throughout the European Union (EU) provided by one or more railway companies. It includes a number of new and important features.
Through-tickets. A new obligation for carriers qualifying as a ‘sole railway undertaking’* to offer their long-distance (international and domestic) and regional rail services as a through-ticket.
Real-time travel information. Infrastructure managers shall distribute real-time traffic data to railway undertakings, ticket vendors, tour operators and station managers. Railway companies must provide real-time dynamic travel information to other railway companies selling their tickets, as well as to ticket vendors and tour operators.
Right to self-routing. Where passengers have not been offered a timely solution (within 100 minutes) in the event of a disruption to their journey, they can themselves organise alternative public transportation by rail or bus, and be reimbursed by the carrier for the ‘necessary, appropriate and reasonable’ cost of the additional ticket.
Transporting bicycles. Dedicated spaces for assembled (not merely folding) bicycles will be required on new trains and on those which have had major upgrades.
Persons with disabilities or reduced mobility. Reduces the pre-notification period for assistance requests to 24 hours along with a number of other measures.
Enforcing passengers’ rights. Introduces an improved enforcement framework including:
an amended complaint-handling mechanism;
a reinforced obligation for cooperation between the national enforcement bodies;
a standardised EU-wide form allowing passengers to request reimbursement or compensation.
Force majeure clause. Railway undertakings do not have to pay compensation for delays or cancellation in the case of extraordinary circumstances such as a pandemic or extreme weather conditions.
Equal treatment. Discrimination based on the passenger’s nationality or the place of establishment within the EU of the carrier or the ticket vendor and tour operator is prohibited.
Major disruptions. In coordination with infrastructure and station managers, railway undertakings should prepare contingency plans (including accessible alert and information systems) to prepare for the possibility of major disruption and long delays causing a considerable number of passengers to be stranded in a station.
Exemptions. Previously existing exemptions are curtailed and no rail services are per se exempted. Certain exemptions can still be granted by EU Member States, such as for urban, suburban and regional passenger services, to which an increased number of mandatory provisions would then remain applicable.
FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?
It enters into force on 6 June 2021 and applies from 7 June 2023.
Sole undertaking: the ‘sole railway undertaking’ may include different railway undertakings which are closely interlinked based on a 100% ownership criterion (Article 12 (1)).
Regulation (EU) 2021/782 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2021 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations (recast) (OJ L 172, 17.5.2021, pp. 1-52)
Directive (EU) 2019/882 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on the accessibility requirements for products and services (OJ L 151, 7.6.2019, pp. 70-115)
Commission Regulation (EU) No 1300/2014 of 18 November 2014 on the technical specifications for interoperability relating to accessibility of the Union’s rail system for persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility (OJ L 356, 12.12.2014, pp. 110-178)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) No 1300/2014 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Directive 2012/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 establishing a single European railway area (OJ L 343, 14.12.2012, pp. 32-77)