TAP TSI – improving the customer experience of European rail journeys
4 December 2013 • Author(s): Rütger Fenkes, Project Leader, TAP TSI
Not too long ago, travelling abroad by rail was a privilege reserved for a selected few. With poor telecommunications, reservations made by telephone and recorded on manual reservation coupons, journeys had to be arranged well in advance. Likewise, the focus of the former national railway administrations was on domestic travellers. With the opening of the railway markets and the emergence of cross-border high-speed services, a single European railway area has started to evolve. Rail is set to become the backbone of the European passenger transport system. Substantial infrastructure investments have been made over the past 20 years to overcome legacy signalling and control systems, for instance. In the area of passenger information, distribution and ticketing, the emphasis has been on domestic customers and services. The needs of international travellers in a competitive, multi-carrier and intermodal environment, however, require new answers. Some experts claim that this is nearly as big a task as harmonising the rail infrastructure across Europe.
The EU Commission has addressed this challenge by means of two key legislative initiatives:
● Passengers’ Rights Regulation (EC No 1371/2007): Concerned with the rights of rail passengers to receive adequate information before and during the journey so they can make an informed purchasing choice and feel reassured during the journey as regards on-board services, disruptions, connecting services, etc.