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Rail passengers in France could get greater compensation for delays thanks to EU

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Rail passengers in France could get greater compensation for delays thanks to EU
Photo: AFP
13:21 CET+01:00
Rail travellers in France could soon receive greater compensation for train delays after the European Parliament decided on Thursday to boost rail passenger rights. But it could be a costly measure for the SNCF.
Given that one in 10 trains are delayed in France the news that the European Parliament wants to boost compensation for those disrupted should come as good news for rail passengers.
 
Currently in France rail chiefs SNCF offer compensation for passengers who suffer major delays on high-speed TGV and Intercité trains.
 
The rules are that delays of between 30 minutes and two hours result in compensation worth 25 percent of the cost of the ticket. For delays between two and three hours it's 50 percent and over three hours the entire cost of the ticket is refunded.
 
But under the new rules voted through by the European Parliament, which would likely come into effect in 2020, rail travellers will be reimbursed half of the ticket price for delays of more than an hour.

For delays of one-and-a-half-hours, three-quarters of the ticket price would have to be refunded, and for delays of more than two hours, the whole price. 

The compensation rules would also apply to TER regional trains as well as high-speed TGV trains and Intercité services.

If passengers miss a connecting train, they would also be entitled to a seat on the next train at no additional cost.

The new rules would still have to be given the green light by the EU's council of ministers and the EU parliament is still negotiating the final wording of the new rules, which also include better access for people with bicycles and free disability assistance on trains. 

Before the vote, the European Consumer's Association stated that passenger rights would be improved if parliament votes for higher compensation.

“It's only fair that consumers are appropriately compensated if their train is delayed or cancelled, as such traffic disruption affects people's plans,” stated the General Secretary of the Association, Monique Goyens.

Yet inside the EU parliament, the question of whether rail companies should still be exempt from paying compensation for circumstances such as seriously adverse weather or terrorist attacks remains controversial.

 
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