Delivering on passenger rights: Railways and national authorities reinforce their cooperation
15 October 2013 • Author: Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER)
Railways and National Enforcement Bodies (NEB) will further reinforce their cooperation to achieve a uniform, pragmatic and customer-friendly approach to implement passenger rights across Europe. This is the main conclusion of the second railways-NEB workshop on Rail Passengers’ Rights, organised by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and the International Rail Transport Committee (CIT) on 15 October in Brussels. Participants agreed to renew this experience with a third railways-NEB workshop to be organised in 2014.
More than 90 experts from railway undertakings, national enforcement bodies, European institutions, passenger associations and other transport stakeholders outlined their experience with the Rail Passenger Rights Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 (Rail PRR), four years after the Regulation entered in force.
Discussions focused on hot topics around the issue of passenger rights and the day-by-day implementation of the Regulation. This included practical examples on the handling of passengers’ claims by NEBs and railways, the information to be given to passengers, as well as the assistance and the continuation of the journey provided to passengers in the event of travel disruptions.
The participants agreed that the different views on how to apply and interpret some key elements of the Regulation can converge in a compromise vision which would ultimately ensure a uniform application of the Regulation across the European Union. In this regards, the CER and CIT look forward to continue their exchange of views with the European Commission, in view of the publication of the interpretative guidelines on Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 (Rail PRR), due in 2014.
The discussions clearly underlined the importance of reinforcing the cooperation between all stakeholders in order to successfully implement the Rail Passenger Rights Regulation, in particular on the issue of information to be provided to passengers. With regard to this, participants welcomed the proposal from CIT and CER to organise a third workshop on Rail Passengers’ Rights that will take place in Brussels in December 2014.
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman stated: “Railways are delivering on passenger rights, as it was confirmed in the Commission’s implementation report on rail passenger rights. However, all stakeholders should continue their efforts to ensure that passenger rights across Europe are applied in a harmonised way. I am convinced that an enhanced cooperation between railways, NEBs, EU decision-makers and passengers’ associations plays a key role in ensuring a customer-friendly implementation of passenger rights across the EU, with the aim of making train journeys even more attractive to passengers over the next years. The railways will continue to offer such a discussion platform in the coming years”.
CIT Secretary General Cesare Brand said: “Passengers’ rights are implemented primarily with a domestic focus. This is sometimes problematic for both international passengers and carriers. A transparent and customer-friendly approach to international passengers’ rights therefore requires cooperation between the stakeholders involved within the railway undertakings and institutions. The second workshop today is a good basis to go on with the current work. ”