Category Archives: Mobility and passenger rights

Mobility for all is a key requirement in order to join the European Economic Area. Transport has a social and cohesive dimension, reducing regional inequalities, providing access to remote regions and increasing access for disabled persons. A policy to protect passengers’ rights, particularly in air and rail transport has been put in place in order to achieve the goal of mobility for all Passengers must enjoy the same rights throughout the European Union, without discrimination, regardless of their nationality and that of their transport operator.

Action Plan on Urban Mobility

Action Plan on Urban Mobility

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action Plan on Urban Mobility

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Action Plan on Urban Mobility

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Action Plan on Urban Mobility [COM(2009) 490 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Action Plan proposes a set of measures intended to ensure more efficient and more sustainable urban mobility.

Why an Action Plan on Urban Mobility?

This Action Plan meets the following needs:

  • the transport system must be competitive;
  • the European Union (EU) must fulfil its commitments in the areas of tackling climate change, growth and jobs, social cohesion, and health and safety;
  • urban areas must address demographic trends and social concerns (persons with reduced mobility, families and children);
  • urban mobility has a considerable impact on the efficiency of long-distance transport. Most long-distance transport starts or ends in urban areas, and urban mobility is thus regarded as an integral element of trans-European transport networks.

While reaffirming the principle of subsidiarity, the EU suggests improved European coordination. It also proposes to establish a coherent framework to accompany the measures taken at local level.

What is the role of the European Union?

The EU can encourage the different authorities (local, regional and national) to implement long-term integrated policies. In addition, the EU will assist authorities in finding innovative solutions and in sharing best practices at European level.

The main actions proposed by the Commission

The Action Plan proposes the following action themes:

  • Promoting integrated policies

Urban mobility policies must be linked to other policies concerning infrastructure, land use, social aspects of accessibility and mobility, environmental protection and industrial policy.

  • Focusing on citizens

Citizens must be at the heart of mobility policy. As such, passengers must be better informed and their rights must be better protected. In addition, the accessibility of urban transport for persons with reduced mobility is still insufficient. The Commission will also support campaigns intended to change citizens’ transport habits (walking or cycling, use of public transport, more energy-efficient driving, etc.).

  • Supporting greener urban transport

The Commission will continue to support the development of greener urban transport through:

  • the Seventh Framework Programme for research and development (for example, the CIVITAS initiative);
  • the European Green Cars Initiative.
  • Strengthening funding

The Commission must help authorities and stakeholders to explore funding opportunities, including through the Structural and Cohesion Funds and the Intelligent Energy Europe programme.

  • Sharing experience and knowledge

The EU will contribute to the collection and sharing of data and information on mobility actions. It will thus help cities with less knowledge and financial capacity to benefit from the experience of more advanced cities. The EU will set up an urban mobility observatory to accompany this approach.

At international level, the EU will work towards the exchange of information and best practices between EU cities and third countries.

  • Optimising urban mobility

The EU will offer assistance on:

  • improving logistics efficiency for long-distance freight transport in cities;
  • developing Intelligent Transport System  (ITS) applications for urban mobility.

Looking ahead

This Action Plan will be reviewed by the Commission in 2012. The Commission will then determine whether further actions are appropriate.

Context

This Action Plan meets the need to rethink mobility in urban areas. It should be made more efficient, more family-friendly and more environmentally-friendly.

Rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway

Rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway.

Summary

This regulation applies to passengers travelling on passenger services * either departing from or arriving in a port within the European Union (EU), and on cruises where the port of embarkation is in the EU. It does not apply to passengers travelling:

  • on ships certified to carry up to 12 passengers;
  • on ships which have a crew of less than three persons or where the distance of the service is less than 500 metres;
  • on excursion and sightseeing tours;
  • on ships not propelled by mechanical means and historical ships, certified to carry up to 36 passengers.

Rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility

Carriers, travel agents and tour operators must not refuse to accept reservations, issue tickets or embark persons on the grounds of disability or of reduced mobility, and nor must tickets be offered at an additional cost. Reservations and tickets may, however, be refused to disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility in order to meet applicable safety requirements and where the design of the passenger ship or port infrastructure and equipment makes the safe embarkation, disembarkation or carriage of disabled persons impossible. In the case of such a refusal, carriers, travel agents and tour operators must make all reasonable efforts to find an alternative means of transport for the person concerned.

Rights in the event of interrupted travel

In the event of a cancellation or a delayed departure of a passenger service, passengers must be informed by the carrier of the situation as soon as possible and no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled time of departure. In this case, carriers must also inform passengers of the estimated departure time and estimated arrival time as soon as such information is available. Where the departure is cancelled or delayed for more than 90 minutes, passengers must be offered free of charge snacks, meals or refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time. Where an overnight stay is necessary, the carrier must offer, where possible, free of charge accommodation for the passengers. The carrier may limit the total cost of accommodation to EUR 80 per night per passenger, for a maximum of three nights.

When a departure is cancelled or delayed for more than 90 minutes, passengers must immediately be offered the choice between re-routing to the final destination at the earliest opportunity and at no additional cost or reimbursement of the ticket price and, where appropriate, a return service free of charge to the first point of departure.

Passengers may also request compensation, in addition to the transport, from the carrier in the event of a delay in arrival at the final destination. The minimum level of compensation is 25 % of the ticket price for a delay of at least:

  • 1 hour in the case of a scheduled journey of up to 4 hours;
  • 2 hours in the case of a scheduled journey of between 4 and 8 hours;
  • 3 hours in the case of a scheduled journey of between 8 and 24 hours;
  • 6 hours in the case of a scheduled journey of more than 24 hours.

If the delay exceeds double the time set out above, the compensation will increase to 50 % of the ticket price. The compensation will be paid, either in vouchers or in money at the request of the passenger, within 1 month of the request for compensation. This compensation must not be reduced by financial transaction costs such as fees, telephone costs or stamps.

Carriers are not required to provide passengers with an overnight stay and compensation where the cancellation or delay is caused by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship.

Carriers and terminal operators must establish or have in place an accessible complaint-handling mechanism for the rights and obligations provided for in this regulation. A passenger must submit a complaint within 2 months from the date on which the transport service was undertaken or when the service should have been undertaken. Within 1 month of receiving the complaint, the carrier or terminal operator must notify the passenger that the complaint has been substantiated, rejected or is still being considered. The final response must be provided within 2 months of the receipt of the complaint.

Each EU country must establish an independent national body with the mandate to enforce the regulation and to impose penalties where appropriate.

This regulation is applicable from 18 December 2012.

Key terms used in the act
  • Passenger service: a commercial passenger transport service by sea or inland waterways operated according to a published timetable.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010

6.1.2011

OJ L 334, 17.12.2010

Rights of passengers in bus and coach transport

Rights of passengers in bus and coach transport

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rights of passengers in bus and coach transport

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Rights of passengers in bus and coach transport

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EU) No 181/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 concerning the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport.

Summary

Subject to certain exceptions, this regulation applies to passengers travelling with regular services * for non-specified categories of passengers where either the boarding or the alighting point is within the European Union (EU) and where the scheduled distance of the service is 250 km or more. Some of its provisions apply to all services, including those of shorter distance. The provisions of this regulation will apply as from 1 March 2013.

The new rights applicable to long distance services (i.e. of more than 250 km) include, amongst others:

  • adequate assistance (snacks, meals and refreshments as well as, if necessary, up to two nights’ hotel accommodation, for a total amount of € 80 per night, except in case of severe weather conditions and major natural disasters) in situations of cancellation or following a delay of more than 90 minutes in the case of a journey of more than three hours;
  • guarantee of reimbursement or rerouting in situations of overbooking or in case of cancellation or following a delay of more than 120 minutes from the estimated time of departure;
  • compensation of 50 % of the ticket price following more than 120 minutes’ delay from the estimated time of departure, cancellation of a journey and if the carrier fails to offer the passenger either rerouting or reimbursement;
  • information when the service is cancelled or delayed in departure;
  • protection of passengers in case of death, injury, loss or damage caused by road accidents, particularly with regard to immediate practical needs in case of accident (including up to two nights’ hotel accommodation, for a total amount of € 80 per night);
  • specific assistance free of charge for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility both at terminals and on board and, where necessary, transport free of charge for accompanying people.

Additionally, the following rights will be applicable to all services (including those below 250 km):

  • non-discrimination based either directly or indirectly on nationality, with respect to tariffs and contract conditions for passengers;
  • non-discriminatory treatment of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility as well as financial compensation for loss or damage of their mobility equipment in case of accident;
  • minimum rules on travel information for all passengers before and during their journey as well as general information about their rights in terminals and online; where feasible, this information shall be provided in accessible formats upon request, in the interest of the persons with reduced mobility;
  • a complaint handling mechanism established by carriers and available to all passengers;
  • independent national bodies in each EU country with the mandate to enforce the regulation and, where appropriate, to impose penalties.
Key terms used in the act
  • Regular services: services which provide for the carriage of passengers by bus or coach at specified intervals along specified routes, passengers being picked up and set down at predetermined stopping points.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 181/2011

20.3.2011

OJ L 55, 28.2.2011

Mobility and passenger rights

Mobility and passenger rights

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mobility and passenger rights

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Mobility and passenger rights

Mobility for all is a key requirement in order to join the European Economic Area. Transport has a social and cohesive dimension, reducing regional inequalities, providing access to remote regions and increasing access for disabled persons. A policy to protect passengers’ rights, particularly in air and rail transport has been put in place in order to achieve the goal of mobility for all Passengers must enjoy the same rights throughout the European Union, without discrimination, regardless of their nationality and that of their transport operator.

SUSTAINABLE MOBILTY

  • Action Plan on Urban Mobility
  • Green Paper: Towards a new culture for urban mobility
  • Developing the Citizens’ Network
  • Cohesion and transport
  • Freight transport logistics in Europe

PASSENGER RIGHTS

  • Strengthening passenger rights within the European Union
  • Rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway
  • Rights of passengers in bus and coach transport
  • New rights for rail passengers
  • Informing passengers of the carrier’s identity and the blacklist of high-risk companies
  • Rights of people with reduced mobility in air transport
  • Computerised reservation systems
  • Denied-boarding compensation system
  • Protection of air passengers

Informing passengers of the carrier's identity and the blacklist of high-risk companies

Informing passengers of the carrier’s identity and the blacklist of high-risk companies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Informing passengers of the carrier’s identity and the blacklist of high-risk companies

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Informing passengers of the carrier’s identity and the blacklist of high-risk companies

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2005 on the establishment of a Community list of air carriers subject to an operating ban within the Community and on informing air transport passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier, and repealing Article 9 of Directive 2004/36/EC [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This new Regulation is designed to give passengers the right to be informed of the identity of the carrier operating the flight they have booked, while at the same time reinforcing the obligation on European Union (EU) countries to pass on safety-related information. Companies considered to be unsafe will find their aircraft banned from flying and will have their names published on a universally accessible blacklist. This list will be published both on the Internet and in the Official Journal.

These provisions apply to flights:

  • departing from an airport in the territory of an EU country to which the Treaty applies;
  • departing from an airport in a third country and arriving at an airport in the territory of an EU country, provided that the contracting carrier is based in the EU;
  • departing from an airport in a third country, where the flight is part of a contract of carriage entered into in the EU, and provided that the journey started in the EU.

A blacklist of unsafe airlines

The Annex sets out common criteria for considering an EU-wide operating ban for safety reasons. Air carriers will be included on the blacklist on the basis of the following criteria:

  • evidence of serious safety deficiencies on the part of a carrier;
  • a lack of ability (or willingness) on the part of a carrier to address safety deficiencies (lack of transparency or insufficient action);
  • a lack of ability (or willingness) on the part of the authorities responsible for overseeing a carrier to address safety deficiencies (lack of cooperation, insufficient ability, etc.).

EU countries publish a list of all air carriers banned from their airspace or subject to traffic rights restrictions for safety reasons. This list is made available to other EU countries and to the Commission. The Commission publishes a consolidated list of these air carriers. Furthermore, at least once every three months, the Commission must assess whether the blacklist needs to be updated to include or exclude certain carriers. To update the list, both the EU country concerned and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) must notify the Commission of all the relevant information.

Passengers’ rights to information and reimbursement

To enable airline passengers to be better informed about the operating carrier when choosing a flight, passengers must be able to know which carrier will be operating the flight when they make the booking. The contracting carrier is required to inform passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier or carriers when making a reservation, whatever the means used to make the booking. The passenger must also be kept informed of any change of operating carrier, either at check-in or, at the latest, when boarding.

The Regulation also gives passengers the right to reimbursement or re-routing if a carrier with which a booking has been made is subsequently added to the blacklist, resulting in cancellation of the flight concerned.

Background

Safety oversight is regulated worldwide within the framework of the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and is based on standards developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Under the Convention, air carriers, and in particular their compliance with safety requirements, must be supervised by their home country.

At European level, safety procedures are based on EU legislation and specifically on the European Aviation Safety Agency.

However, outside the EU, safety levels depend on the effectiveness of oversight procedures applicable in third countries. In this context, Directive 2004/36/EC ensures a high level of aviation safety for aircraft flying into, out of or within the EU by providing for a harmonised inspection system for third-country aircraft using European airports.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005

16.1.2006

OJ L 344 of 27.12.2005

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 596/2009

9.9.2010

OJ L 237 of 8.9.2010

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

Related Acts

Blacklist of high-risk companies.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 474/2006 of 22 March 2006 establishing the Community list of air carriers which are subject to an operating ban within the Community referred to in Chapter II of Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal L 84 of 23.3.2006].

Strengthening passenger rights within the European Union

Strengthening passenger rights within the European Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strengthening passenger rights within the European Union

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Strengthening passenger rights within the European Union

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council “Strengthening passenger rights within the European Union” [COM(2005) 46 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The single market has generated a sizeable growth in demand for both passenger and goods transport. However, passengers have been faced with difficult situations which, rather than being the exception, have unfortunately become the norm, such as cancellations, overbooking, loss of luggage, delays, etc.

Passenger rights should be protected in the following ways:

  • specific measures in favour of persons with reduced mobility;
  • compensation and assistance in the event of a delay, cancellation or denied boarding;
  • liability in the event of death or injury;
  • treatment of complaints and means of redress;
  • passenger information.

Specific measures in favour of persons with reduced mobility

A passenger protection policy must include specific measures to protect persons with reduced mobility. There are some 45 million citizens with reduced mobility, or around 10 % of the European population. This figure includes not only disabled persons but also those who would be incapable of travelling without assistance because of their age, reduced mental capacity or illness.

These people should be guaranteed appropriate assistance, wherever they go and whatever the form of transport used, so that they can travel with confidence throughout the EU. They should never be refused travel or a reservation because of their reduced mobility. Moreover, they should receive the assistance that they need free of charge, both in airports, stations and ports and on board the means of transport itself.

Automatic and immediate solutions where travel is interrupted

Where a service is interrupted because of delay, cancellation or denied boarding, the passengers should be entitled to automatic solutions to overcome the difficulties they encounter whatever the method of transport. They can always bring judicial proceedings against carriers.

Liability in the event of death or injury of passengers

As a general rule, carriers are insured against the risk of physical damage to passengers; however, the requirements vary considerably at national level.
With the exception of the aviation sector, there is no guarantee of a sufficient and uniform level of insurance in all circumstances. As regards maritime transport, the Commission has already proposed that the Community and the Member States become contracting parties to the Athens Protocol relating to the carriage of passengers and their luggage by sea.

In the same way, coach travellers are faced with different national rules and do not know before which court they should bring their action. In view of this, the Commission will examine how to guarantee an adequate level of cover and a uniform approach to liability in international coach transport.

Treatment of complaints and means of redress

Once passengers have been made aware of their rights, the exercise of such rights should be made as simple as possible. Most of the time the judicial proceedings are complex or very lengthy. Hence the usefulness of extra-judicial mechanisms for solving disputes which offer significant advantages: speed, transparency, reasonable cost and flexibility. In the light of this, the Commission has established a European network of national bodies aimed at facilitating access to non-judicial procedures for the resolution of cross-border disputes.

Passenger information

Passengers should not only know the identity of the carrier who will operate the flight but also be certain that information which could affect the safety of the carrier and which could therefore concern them is indeed communicated rapidly and effectively between States.

The Commission has initiated a number of measures concerning passenger information, namely:

  • developing a system of indicators which will give air passengers access to key information on the quality of service so that they can easily and immediately compare the performance of carriers. The proposed indicators cover delays, denied boarding, cancellations and poor baggage handling;
  • pursuing its information campaign to publicise the rights created by Community legislation. The Commission will update the charter of air passengers’ rights to include the new Community legislation on denied boarding, cancellation and long delays of flights and on the liability of air carriers;
  • obtaining a voluntary undertaking from air carriers and railway companies to set up an integrated ticketing system to enable passengers to combine several modes of transport in one journey through integrated ticketing;
  • studying, with the industry, the options for strengthening passengers’ rights in the event of airlines going bankrupt.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission – Developing the trans-European transport network: Innovative funding solutions – Interoperability of electronic toll collection systems [COM(2003) 132 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Directive 2004/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems in the Community [Official Journal L 166 of 30.4.2004].

Rights of people with reduced mobility in air transport

Rights of people with reduced mobility in air transport

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rights of people with reduced mobility in air transport

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Rights of people with reduced mobility in air transport

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

Summary

The regulation on the rights of persons with reduced mobility when using air transport prohibits operators from refusing reservation or boarding to persons because of their reduced mobility or disability *.

There are certain exceptions and derogations, however, particularly for justified safety reasons established by law. An air carrier may refuse to accept a reservation from or to embark a person with reduced mobility or request that a travelling person with reduced mobility or disability must be accompanied by another person, in order to meet applicable safety requirements duly established by law or if the size of the aircraft makes it physically impossible to embark that person.

Within five working days of refusing a reservation or embarkation or requiring a person with reduced mobility or disability to be accompanied, the air carrier must inform in writing the person concerned of its reasons for doing so.

Persons with reduced mobility or disability are entitled to receive the assistance specified in the regulation free of charge in airports (on departure, arrival and during transit) and on board aircrafts (for example, the transport of wheelchairs and the carriage of guide dogs for the blind).

The managing bodies of airports should provide this assistance and may fund the services by levying a specific charge on airlines.

European Union (EU) countries and other concerned countries (European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries) will be required to lay down penalties for infringements and to set up independent bodies to deal with complaints.

The Commission must report to the European Parliament and the Council by 1 January 2010 at the latest on the implementation and effects of the regulation.

Key terms used in the act
  • “Disabled person” or “person with reduced mobility”: any person whose mobility when using transport is reduced due to any physical disability (sensory or locomotor, permanent or temporary), intellectual disability or impairment, or any other cause of disability, or age, and whose situation needs appropriate attention and the adaptation to his or her particular needs of the service made available to all passengers.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006

15.8.2006

26.7.2008

(Articles 3 and 4: 26.7.2007)

OJ L 204, 26.7.2006

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the functioning and effects of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air [COM(2011) 166 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The report concluded that Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 has brought advantages to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility (PRM); in particular a single framework of protection, a clear division of tasks between airports and air carriers, and the establishment of a network of National Enforcement Bodies (NEB) in all EU countries.
The Commission did, however, find some difficulties in applying the regulation which might weaken its impact. These problem areas include:

  • a sometimes insufficient quality of service provided and inadequate adaption to PRM’s individual needs;
  • insufficient information provided to passengers;
  • fragile and expensive handling mobility equipment;
  • restrictions on accepting reservations from or embarking PRMs on the grounds of safety;
  • insufficient in-flight assistance by the air carriers, in particular in moving to toilet facilities;
  • conflicting interpretations of the definition of mobility equipment that must be carried free of charge by the air carriers;
  • disparities in the implementation of the regulation between EU countries;
  • disagreements over the amount of and the method of calculating and imposing charges;
  • difficulty in interpreting certain important definitions, such as whether pregnant women, overweight people or young children are included in the definition of persons with reduced mobility;
  • transporting and supplying medical oxygen.

As the initial assessment finds that the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 is overall positive, a legislative review is not necessary at this stage. The Commission does, however, propose a number of axes of improvement within the existing framework, including:

  • a uniform interpretation of the regulation;
  • improving how the regulatory instruments work in practice;
  • strengthening the efficacy of the penalities and their supervision by national authorities;
  • handling the issue of the transport and supply of medical oxygen.

Communication from the Commission of 7 August 2008 on the scope of the liability of air carriers and airports in the event of destroyed, damaged or lost mobility equipment of passengers with reduced mobility when travelling by air [COM(2008) 510 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Based on the “Study on the compensation thresholds for damaged or lost equipment and devices belonging to air passengers with reduced mobility” launched by the Commission, this communication presents the current challenges faced by persons with reduced mobility when their mobility equipment is lost or damaged, as well as the solutions provided by Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006.
In terms of quantitative objectives, the aim is to reduce the number of incidents regarding mobility equipment. To this end, the regulation establishes the legal obligation for airlines and airports to design procedures for and train staff on the assistance of people with reduced mobility. As a qualitative objective, the aim is to minimise the consequences of an incident. In this regard, there is:

  • a lack of common procedures that would lead to an immediate solution, which is covered in part by the regulation;
  • disparity in the nature and limits of the liability between airlines and airports, to whom an obligation of compensation that conforms to international, EU and national law is bestowed by the regulation;
  • the problem of inadequate compensations and procedures; however, the regulation should diminish the amount of incidents and their consequences, which are currently already rather minimal;
  • a question on the definition of “baggage” and the role of mobility equipment thereof, for which the Commission aims to launch discussions within the ICAO, so that mobility equipment is either excluded from the definition or the liability limits imposed on “baggage” by international conventions are amended in view of levelling out compensations on destroyed, damaged or lost mobility equipment with the actual value of that equipment.

Following the future assessment of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006, if enough progress has not been achieved, the Commission will propose improvements to the current legislative framework regarding the rights of persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.

Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 [Official Journal L 46 of 17.02.2004].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: “Protection of air passengers in the European Union” [COM(2000) 365 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Denied-boarding compensation system

Denied-boarding compensation system

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Denied-boarding compensation system

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Denied-boarding compensation system

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91.

Summary

This Regulation applies to:

  • passengers departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State to which the EC Treaty applies; and
  • passengers departing from an airport located in a third country to an airport situated in the territory of a Member State to which the EC Treaty applies,

On condition that the passengers have a confirmed reservation on the flight concerned and, except in the case of cancellation, present themselves for check-in at the time indicated in advance or, if no time is indicated, not later than 45 minutes before the published departure time.

This Regulation establishes passengers’ rights if:

  • they are denied boarding against their will;
  • their flight is cancelled;
  • their flight is delayed.

This Regulation does not apply to passengers travelling free of charge or at a reduced fare not available directly or indirectly to the public.

Denied boarding

When an air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it first calls for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for certain benefits. If an insufficient number of volunteers come forward to allow the remaining passengers to board the flight, the air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will, in which case it must compensate them.

Air carriers give priority to persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them.

In the event of flight cancellation or denied boarding, the passengers concerned have the right to:

  • reimbursement of the cost of the ticket within seven days or a return flight to the first point of departure or re-routing to their final destination;
  • care (refreshments, meals, hotel accommodation, transport between the airport and place of accommodation, two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails);
  • compensation totalling:
    – EUR 250 for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less;
    – EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres;
    – EUR 600 for all other flights.

Delays

The Regulation introduces a three-tier system:

  • in the event of long delays (two hours or more, depending on the distance of the flight), passengers must in every case be offered free meals and refreshments plus two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails;
  • if the time of departure is deferred until the next day, passengers must also be offered hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and the place of accommodation;
  • when the delay is five hours or longer, passengers may opt for reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket together with, when relevant, a return flight to the first point of departure.

Upgrading and downgrading

If an air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, the passenger must be reimbursed within seven days, as follows:

  • 30% of the price of the ticket for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less;
  • 50% of the price of the ticket for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, except flights between the Member States and the French overseas departments, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres;
  • 75% of the price of the ticket for all other flights, including flights between the Member States and the French overseas departments.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 [adoption: codecision procedure COD/2001/305] 17.2.2005 OJ L 46 of 17.2.2004

 

Developing the Citizens' Network

Developing the Citizens’ Network

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Developing the Citizens’ Network

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Developing the Citizens’ Network

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 10 July 1998 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: “Developing the citizens’ network – Why local and regional passenger transport is important and how the European Commission is helping to bring it about” [COM (1998) 431 final- Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Amsterdam Treaty includes sustainable development as one of the European Union’s objectives. Transport has a key part to play in achieving this goal. A well-functioning European transport system needs a good, sustainable local and regional passenger transport structure. This is primarily a matter for local, regional and national authorities, working with transport operators and users, amongst whom there is a high degree of consensus on the fundamental need to shift away from dependence on private cars and make transport systems more sustainable.

Practical methods of making transport systems more sustainable and shifting away from excessive dependence on private cars include:

  • raising the quality and accessibility of public transport services and increasing their capacity to respond flexibly to changes in transport needs;
  • making walking and cycling more attractive by offering more favourable conditions;
  • reducing the demand for travel, for example by reversing the trend for housing, jobs, schools, etc. to disperse to places which are hard to reach except by car;
  • removing psychological barriers to the use of alternatives to cars;
  • actively managing car use in congested areas;
  • making transport an essential component of strategies for spatial planning, economic development and social cohesion;
  • fostering new, flexible working time arrangements;
  • pulling all this together to create a door-to-door transport system which people can use as an integrated Citizens’ Network.

What is needed is then integration of travel services, facilitating less costly and effective door-to-door travel whatever the number of transfers or the distances involved. One of the key principles is intermodality, as it allows different means of transport to be used as part of seamless transport chains.

To support the role of local and regional passenger transport while complying with the principle of subsidiarity, the Commission has drawn up a three-year work programme covering four key areas:

  • Stimulating information exchange by developing a European Local Transport Information Service (ELTIS). This will consist of a database about local and regional passenger transport of all types, with information coming from the POLIS network of cities and regions and the International Union of Public Transport (UITP). Users will be able to consult the service electronically by using the worldwide web.
  • Stimulating the benchmarking of service performance to enable public authorities and transport operators to benefit from comparison of the performance of their local and regional transport systems with systems in other countries. In this respect, the Commission will present a Communication on benchmarking of transport. In addition, the European Commitee for Standardisation (CEN) intends to adopt standard definitions which can be used in setting quality criteria for passenger transport. From 1999 onwards, the Commission will seek to encourage widespread use of benchmarking by public authorities and operators. It will publish a handbook on benchmarking local public transport and ensure that a database of results obtained is widely available.
  • Establishing a political and legal framework which promotes increased use of local and regional passenger transport systems and helps to achieve the objectives of the European Union’s common transport policy with regard to efficiency, quality and sustainable mobility. The Commission plays an important part in the development of this policy framework. In land use planning, for example, it encourages good practice with regard to transport through instruments such as the trans-European transport network, regional policy, and cohesion policy. In transport telematics, it makes the most of the potential of telematics applications to improve the efficiency and quality of transport services and help to overcome obstacles to their integration. The Commission believes that information obtained through new telematics applications (in real time, accessible at home, at work and on the move) should cover as many different forms of transport as possible, including public transport routes and timetables, the degree of congestion on the road network, the availability of parking, etc. Making use of the potential of regional transport will also provide increased moblity for women, the disabled and the elderly, and help to reduce pollution, energy consumption and CO2 emissions from transport and make optimum use of public spending.
  • Using the European Union’s financial instruments effectively. The European Commission will manage these funds and programmes so as to optimise the potential contribution from a sustainable local and regional passenger transport system. In its review of the guidelines for the trans-European Transport Network (TEN -T), for example, the Commission is paying particular attention to the question of local and regional connections to the TEN-T (whether to include intermodal passenger terminals in the guidelines). The Commission has also included four actions of specific relevance to the Citizens’ Network in the first projects under the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Development: Sustainable mobility and intermodality; Land and marine transport technologies; The city of tomorrow and cultural heritage; Systems and services for the citizen.

All in all, the Commission’s work programme is intended to provide practical assistance to numerous institutions throughout Europe which contribute to the development of local and regional transport for the citizens’ benefit: the public authorities, transport companies and user groups.

 

Protection of air passengers

Protection of air passengers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of air passengers

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Mobility and passenger rights

Protection of air passengers

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 21 June 2000 to the European Parliament and to the Council regarding the protection of air passengers in the European Union [COM(2000) 365 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication is based on the results of a consultative document launched by the Commission. This document, which was addressed to organisations representing airlines, passengers and airports, concerned the problems encountered by air passengers and possible solutions.

Air passengers and their protection

Growth of air transport, stimulated by the development of the single market, is giving rise to much dissatisfaction today in terms of the quality of service provided by airlines. In spite of numerous measures already taken at Community level (compensation for denied boarding, liability in case of accidents, a code of conduct for computerised reservation systems and package travel), it appears that passengers have little knowledge of their rights. This has led the Commission to launch an awareness campaign through the display of a “charter of passenger’s rights” in European airports (available in all languages as a PDF document available for download on the website of DG Energy and Transport).

The policy proposed in this Communication combines both Community law, through various legislative acts, and voluntary commitments by the air transport sector. The Commission is counting on the cooperation of the airlines and airports to allow looser European legislation, preferring solutions negotiated on a voluntary basis. There is a need to avoid overregulation so as not to lessen the scope for competition or hamper cooperation between airlines.

The Commission points out that future legislation will seek a balance between legal certainty for passengers and for airlines, while guaranteeing more rights for passengers. They must be able to obtain accurate and up-to-date information on airlines’ performance so that they can make informed choices. Moreover, the difficulty of settling disputes must be addressed. The handling of complaints is often disappointing. Besides, representation of passenger interests is often weak when compared with very influential airlines.

Commission proposals

The Commission is proposing to base its action on both legislation and voluntary commitments. The legislation to be proposed will have three objectives:

  • enable delayed passengers to continue their journeys under good conditions, by giving them the right either to reimbursement of the ticket or to an alternative flight at the earliest opportunity;
  • create new rights for passengers, by setting minimum requirements for air travel contracts. The aim would be to create certainty for passengers by requiring the airlines to draft contracts clearly setting out the services offered and the conditions applied. The Commission also wishes to improve the balance of contracts in favour of passengers;
  • give passengers the information they need to make well-founded choices between airlines. The Commission is proposing, on the basis of data submitted by the airlines, to publish regular reports for consumers.

The voluntary commitments concern:

  • improvement of service quality (lower fares, better information, easier complaints procedures);
  • care for delayed passengers;
  • simpler procedures for lodging complaints and mechanisms for settling disputes out of court.

The Commission is also proposing to involve airports in this attempt to improve service to passengers.

Commission work programme

In 2000, the Commission set out the following tasks:

  • discuss how best to strengthen the representation of passengers with Member States and passengers’ organisations.
  • examine the effects of Internet sales and reservations on the market and competition rules.
  • study the effects on competition of code sharing and of tariff coordination in interlining.
  • assess the impact of cabin conditions on passengers’ health.

Related Acts

Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2005 on the establishment of a Community list of air carriers subject to an operating ban within the Community and on informing air transport passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier, and repealing Article 9 of Directive 2004/36/EC [Official Journal L 344 of 27.12.2005].
This Regulation provides for the publication of a “black list” of air carriers that do not comply with European safety criteria and which have been banned from operating in the European Union. Under this Regulation, passengers are given the right to know the identity of the air carrier that is operating their flight.

Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 [Official Journal L 46 of 17.2.2004].

Council Resolution of 2 October 2000 on the rights of air passengers [Official Journal C 293 of 14.10.2000].

Council Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 of 9 October 1997 on air carrier liability in the event of accidents [Official Journal L 285 of 17.10.1997].

Amended by:
Regulation (EC) No 889/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 May 2002 [Official Journal L 140 of 30.5.2002].

Commission Staff Working Paper. An International Framework for the Transfer of Airline Passenger Data to Public Authorities [SEC(2004) 99 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Resources

Further Reading

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  • CANARIS, C.-W., “Die Nacherfüllung durch Lieferung einer mangelfreien Sache beim Stückkauf”, JZ, 2003, pp. 831 y ss.
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