Rail passenger Rights

The Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligationsestablishes a basic set of rights for rail passengers and requires greater responsibility of rail undertakings towards their customers.


The Regulation aims at establishing rights and obligations for rail passenger service users in order to improve the efficiency and attractiveness of rail transport for passengers.


The Regulation concerns all rail journeys and services provided under licence by one or more rail undertakings under Directive 95/18/EC.

It does not apply to transport services or rail undertakings which are not licensed.

A Member State can opt to grant an exemption from most articles of the Regulation to domestic rail passenger services for a maximum period of five years, which may be renewed twice. It may also exempt urban, suburban and regional rail passenger services from this Regulation.

Passengers’ rights

Rail passengers have the following basic rights:

Transport contract, information and tickets

Passengers should be given clear and accessible information:

  • before the journey, in particular concerning the relevant conditions applicable to the contract, timetables and the fares applied, accessibility information for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility;
  • during the journey, in particular concerning any delays or interruptions to services;
  • concerning procedures for the submission of complaints.

Rail undertakings must make the purchasing of tickets easier for rail passengers. As a general rule tickets are sold at least either via ticket offices or selling machines, or on board trains or via widely available information technology (internet or telephone).

Liability of Rail undertakings for passengers 

The Regulation strengthens passengers’ rights to compensation in the case of death or injury. An advance payment should:

  • be made not later than fifteen days after the identification of the natural person entitled to compensation;
  • enable their immediate economic needs to be met;
  • be proportional to the damage suffered.

Delays and cancellations

The Regulation strengthens passengers’ rights to compensation in the case of delays or cancellations. Passengers may claim a minimum compensation equivalent to:

  • 25 % of the ticket price for a delay of 60 to 119 minutes;
  • 50 % of the ticket price for a delay of 120 minutes or more.

In the case of a delay in arrival or departure, passengers have the right to:

  • receive information on the situation and the estimated departure and arrival time
  • meals and refreshments within reasonable limits;
  • accommodation where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary;
  • transport to the departure or arrival point if the train is blocked on the track.

Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility

The Regulation gives disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility the following rights:

  • disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have the right to non-discriminatory access to transport at no additional charge when buying a ticket or making a reservation;
  • upon request, disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility shall be provided with information concerning the accessibility of rail services and trains;
  • rail undertakings and station managers shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that trains and other rail services are accessible;
  • rail undertakings and station managers should provide assistance free of charge on board trains and at staffed stations; passengers are requested to give 48 hours’ notice of their assistance needs before departure);
  • disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have the right to compensation if the rail undertaking is responsible for the loss or damage of their mobility equipment.

Security, complaints andservicequality

The Regulation obliges rail undertakings and stations managers to ensure passengers’ personal security in trains and stations in cooperation with the public authorities.

Rail undertakings are required to put in place an effective complaints handling mechanism. They must make their contact details and working languages widely known to passengers and respond to passengers whilst respecting strict deadlines. Passengers may complain to any rail undertaking involved.

The minimum service quality standards for rail undertakings include:

  • passenger information and tickets;
  • punctuality of service and general principles to cope with disruptions;
  • cancellation of services;
  • cleanliness of rolling stock and station facilities;
  • customer satisfaction surveys;
  • complaint handling, refunds and compensation for non-compliance with service quality standards;
  • assistance provided to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility.

Enforcement by Member States

Member States must designate an independent body or bodies in charge of the enforcement of the Regulation. Passengers can submit a complaint to any of these bodies if they feel that their rights have not been respected.

Member States must also set up effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for infringements of the Regulation.


This Regulation comes under the framework of the Common Transport Policy and contributes to the aim of protecting rail passengers’ rights.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007


OJ L 315 of 3.12.2007


Communication from the Commission of 3 March 2004 – Further integration of the European rail system: third railway package [ COM(2004) 140 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Report on the Application of Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on Rail Passengers’ Rights and Obligations [ COM(2013) 587 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This report examines the state of application of the Regulation in the EU Member States. It concludes that:

  • the overall application and enforcement of the Regulation is satisfactory, even if not all objectives of the Regulation have been reached (such as an increased rail market share for passenger transport);
  • according to national enforcement bodies (NEBs) and consumer organisations, the railway industry generally has shown a positive approach towards implementing the Regulation. No deliberate, severe or systematic non-compliance could be observed. Nevertheless, certain countries and railway undertakings need to make additional efforts to improve application and enforcement, notably regarding the adequate coverage of liabilities in case of accidents;
  • the Regulation allows Member States to exempt the majority of their railway services from most of its provisions. However, the extensive use of exemptions for domestic services is a serious obstacle to fulfilling its objectives. The application of different regimes for domestic and intra-EU international services is not consistent with the wider policy objective of a single European Railway Area and creates barriers for operators who operate in several countries;
  • enforcement is lagging behind in some EU countries. Either there is no fully-fledged NEB, or the NEB does not have the necessary competences to comply with its obligations or it is not sufficiently independent. Some Member States still need to define effective, appropriate and dissuasive sanctions.
  • the Commission has started taking actions to improve the application of the Regulation in Member States. Furthermore, it will provide interpretative guidelines to facilitate its application.

Last updated: 13.03.2014