Rail Passengers’ Rights
In addition to Irish Rail’s Customer Charter rail passenger rights are now protected by EC Regulation 1371/2007. The Regulation provides a range of measures to protect rail passengers and their belongings when travelling by train within the European Union. A similar range of measures is proposed for bus passenger services.
Irish Rail Customer Charter
Irish Rail has developed its own Customer Charter, which sets out the levels and standards of service you are entitled to expect as a customer of Irish Rail. The Customer Charter deals with issues such as performance and quality standards, customer information, ticket refunds, compensation payments, and complaints procedures.
Many aspects of the Customer Charter go beyond the requirements of EC Regulation 1371/2007, particularly in relation to domestic rail travel, and accordingly have no legal status and cannot be enforced by the National Transport Authority. However, the Regulation does enshrine some rights for domestic passengers and guarantees extensive rights for international rail passengers.
Summary of specific passengers rights under EC Regulation 1371/2007
Irish domestic rail travel
Irish domestic rail travel is largely exempt from EC Regulation 1371/2007, however, passengers on domestic rail services in Ireland now benefit from measures requiring rail operators to:
- make it easy for rail passengers to buy tickets (Article 9 )
- compensate passengers where the operator is liable for the loss of luggage (Article 11)
- have adequate insurance (Article 12)
- ensure non-discriminatory access for persons with disabilities or reduced mobility relating to rail transport including stations, ticket reservations and ticket purchases, and at no additional cost to the passenger (Article 19)
- provide information on the accessibility of rail services to persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility (Article 20(1))
- ensure passengers’ personal security in railway stations and on trains (Article 26)
- compensate passengers in the event of death or injury (Article 13).
International rail travel (e.g. Dublin–Belfast rail services)
In addition to the rights afforded to passengers on domestic services under the Regulation, passengers on international rail services also benefit from measures requiring:
- railway operators and ticket agents to provide passengers with travel information (Article 8 )
- railway operators to make advance payments to cover immediate costs of death or injury associated with use of the rail service (Article 13)
- compensation in the event of delays, cancellations or missed connections (Article 17)
- minimum compensation amounts of 25% of the ticket price for delays between one to two hours, and up to 50% of the ticket price for delays of two hours and more provided the compensation to be paid is greater than €4
- assistance for passengers (including refreshments, accommodation and alternative travel arrangements where necessary) in the event of delays exceeding 60 minutes (Article 18)
- railway operators to provide assistance, free of charge, to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility at railway stations and on board trains (Articles 22 & 23) subject to certain conditions (e.g. requirement to give advance notice to railway operators) (Article 24)
- railway operators to set up a complaint handling mechanism for the rights and obligations covered by Regulation 1371/2007 (Article 27)
- railway operators to define service quality standards and to implement and monitor an associated quality management system (Article 28).
Have you a complaint about rail travel?
Further detail on what to do if you feel you have been denied your rights under the Regulation as explained above is available HERE
New Passenger Rights Application
On July 4th 2012 the European Commission launched an application for smartphones which covers rail transport passengers’ rights information amongst other items. The application is available in 22 EU languages and smart-phone users will be able to access the downloadable pages for all devices using the QR code found in the press release below: