EU legislation lays the foundation for helping passengers understand and exercise their rights when travelling by rail in the EU. The single market for passenger rail transport is currently in development. The rail industry should benefit from a level playing field. A high quality of rail services and the protection of users' rights are essential to fulfil the objective to increase the share of rail transport in comparison to other modes of transport. EU legislation for Rail Passenger Rights entered into force on 3 December 2009. After the European Commission proposed to modernise the rules in 2017, the new Rail Passenger Rights Regulation has been now formally adopted and signed by the European Parliament and the Council on 29 April 2021, and published in the Official Journal on 12 May 2021. It will enter into force on the 20th day after its publication, and be applicable 24 months later, i.e. as of 7 June 2023.
Modernising the European rules on rail passenger rights
29/04/2021 (updated 13/08/2021): European Commission welcomes adoption of new rail passenger rights
Policy and other related documents
Communication from the Commission — Interpretative Guidelines on Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on rail passengers' rights and obligations.
National exemptions from the scope of Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 on rail passenger rights
In principle, EU rail passenger rights are applicable to all rail passenger services in all EU Member States. However, under Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 Member States may exempt certain types of services from the application of these rights.
Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on Exemptions granted by Member States under Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 on rail passengers' rights and obligations, COM/2015/0117 final.
Member States may, on a transparent and non-discriminatory basis, grant:
- an exemption for their purely domestic railway services for a period of no longer than five years, which may be renewed twice for a maximum of five years on each occasion (maximum 15 years);
- a permanent exemption for urban, suburban and regional services;
- an exemption for a period of five years, which may be renewed, in case of rail services a significant part of which is operated outside the Community.
Nonetheless, certain provisions of the Regulation are mandatory for all kinds of railway services within the European Union and cannot be derogated from: rules on availability of tickets, through tickets and reservations (Art 9); liability of railway undertakings for passengers and their luggage (Art 11); minimum level of insurance for railway companies (Art 12); right to transport of passengers with reduced mobility (Art 19); information on accessibility of rail services (Art 20(1)); and obligations on passengers' personal security (Art 26).
The table below provides information about granted or intended national exemptions of which Member States have informed the Commission. The table also indicates to what Articles of the Regulation the exemptions refer to, if applicable.
The Commission constantly updates this information based on contributions from Member States.
In case of doubt, please contact the National Enforcement Body for the Rail Passenger Rights Regulation (NEB Rail) for the country concerned.
Report of the study "Evaluation of Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007" by Steer Davies Gleave on the application and enforcement in the Member States of the Regulation on rail passengers' rights and obligations.
National Enforcement Bodies
Passengers can lodge a complaint with NEBs if they believe that their rights under the Regulation have not been respected.
According to Article 28(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007, the railway undertakings' reports on service quality shall be made available on the ERA website.