Rights and obligations for passengers in the railway sector
Regulation 1371/2007 on railway passengers regulates the rights and the obligations passengers have when travelling by train. It aims to oblige railway companies to improve their services by offering better assistance in case of poor service.
Information to passengers
The railway company shall provide passengers with all the necessary information:
- before the journey: general applicable conditions; timetable and cheapest fare, services for disabled people, bicycles, smoking and non smoking seats, first and second class seats, sleeper car and couchettes, on board services;
- during the journey: on board services, next station, delays, services for connections, security measures;
- after the journey: procedures and lost baggage offices, procedure to hand in complaints.
Train tickets shall be distributed through one of the following points of sale: ticket offices or selling machines, telephone, the internet or any other widely available information technology or on board trains.
Where there is no ticket office or selling machine in the station of departure, passengers shall be informed at the station of the possibility of purchasing tickets via telephone or the Internet or on board the train and of the nearest railway station or place at which ticket offices and/or selling machines are available.
Liability of railways undertakings for passengers and their luggage in case of delay, missed connections and cancellations
In case of train cancellation or missed connection caused by the railway company, passengers are entitled to assistance ( food, accommodation and alternative transport, when relevant) and to a choice among:
- reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket, under the conditions by which it was paid, when relevant, a return service to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity;
- continuation or re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to the final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date at the passenger’s convenience.
A passenger may request compensation for delays from the railway undertaking. The minimum compensations for delays shall be as follows:
- 25 % of the ticket price for a delay of 60 to 119 minutes;
- 50 % of the ticket price for a delay of 120 minutes or more.
The compensation of the ticket price shall be paid within one month after the submission of the request for compensation. The compensation may be paid in vouchers and/or other services if the terms are flexible (in particular regarding the validity period and destination). The compensation shall be paid in money at the request of the passenger.
The passenger shall not have any right to compensation if he is informed of a delay before he buys a ticket, or if a delay due to continuation on a different service or re-routing remains below 60 minutes.
Liability in case of death of, or personal injury, to, passengers
The carrier shall be liable in case of death or injuries caused by an accident arising out of the operation of the railway for damages not exceeding €220 000. For higher damages the company can be relieved if it can prove that the accident has been caused by circumstances not connected with the operation of the railway or if the accident is due to the fault of the passenger.
Passengers are entitled to advanced payments to cover urgent expenses related to an accident: in case of death this advanced payment cannot be inferior to €21 000. For damages to the baggage or personal injuries the railway company shall compensate the passenger up to a maximum of €1800.
Liability rules apply also if part of the railway transport is operated via sea, unless the relative rules are more in favour of the passenger. If the transfer is operated by more companies, they are liable and the passenger can choose against which he wants to file a complaint.
Terms to file a complaint in case of death or personal injuries are:
- 3 years from the accident date in case of direct action of the passenger;
- 3 years from the passenger’s death and 5 years from the accident date in case other people are entitled to compensation;
- 2 years from the accident date for any other action.
The company is also liable for damages to passengers ( minimum insurance cover per passenger is fixed at €310 000) and to the luggage, except for extraordinary circumstances ( weather conditions, natural disasters, war, terrorism).
Reduced mobility and disabled people
Reduced mobility and disabled people have the right to assistance free of charge on board and while boarding or disembarking. Upon request, a railway undertaking, a ticket vendor or a tour operator shall provide disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility with information on the accessibility of rail services and on the access conditions of rolling stock.
Quality and security of the service
Railway undertakings shall adopt all the necessary measures to ensure a high security standard at the stations and on board.
The Regulation foresees also a specific procedure to hand in complaints. And railway companies shall publish the number of received complaints.
Complaints and mediation
If necessary, railway passengers can submit a complaint about the rights and the obligations foreseen by the Regulation and have the right to obtain a reply in a reasonable time frame.
In case the complaint is against Trenitalia, it can be submitted through:
- online form on Trenitalia website;
- paper form available at the Assistance Offices in stations. It can be filled and handed in at the station or it can be sent by post, fax or email, also with the assistance of consumers’ association like Adiconsum.
In case Trenitalia does not give a reply within 60 days or if the reply is not satisfying, it is possible to start a mediation procedure, foreseen by the Protocol signed by Trenitalia and the Consumers’ Associations, by applying directly or with the help of a consumers’ association.
In case the complaint is against NTV, the complaint shall be sent to the company by post, fax or email. Within a month after receiving the complaint, NTV shall give a reply or ask for more time if the issue is particularly tough.