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Source: Council of the European Union 2

Today, the Council’s and European Parliament’s negotiators reached a provisional agreement on the proposed reform of rail passenger rights. The revised rules will improve the rights of passengers, in particular of those with disabilities or reduced mobility. They will encourage rail companies to provide more and improved services. In the spirit of the Green Deal, passengers will be entitled to take their bikes on board as a general rule. To facilitate this, rail companies will need to create an adequate number of bicycle carriage spaces on board their trains. The new rules will make through-tickets mandatory if connecting trains are run by a sole railway undertaking, for example when a journey involves a connection between a regional and a long-distance train. A through-ticket is a single ticket which is valid for all or a number of successive train connections in a journey and safeguards the rights to re-routing and compensation in case of delays or missed connections.

While the current regulation allows a large number of exemptions, the new rules will apply to an increased number of services. In addition, the agreed text clarifies passenger rights in case of delays and cancellations, and strengthens the rules on re-routing. The agreed text introduces a force majeure clause for rail companies so that they are not obliged, in exceptional circumstances, to pay compensation. This will help ensure that there is a level playing field between transport providers representing different modes of transport.

The provisional agreement is subject to approval by the Council. The presidency will brief the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) on the outcome of the trilogue meeting on 7 October. It intends to submit the agreement for endorsement by Coreper in the coming weeks.

Background

The Commission presented the proposal in September 2017. The proposal revises the current regulation from 2007, which applies to both domestic and international journeys and services. The Council agreed on its general approach in December 2019 after which the Council and the Parliament launched a series of trilogue meetings with the aim of securing agreement on the final text. The first of these trilogue meetings was held in January 2020 and today’s meeting was the fourth in the series.

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