What changes for rail customers in June
The rights of rail passengers will be restricted from June 7th. A new regulation no longer provides for reimbursements in the event of delays or cancellations in certain cases in which passengers were previously entitled to compensation. Other things are also changing. An overview.
NAccording to rail passenger rights valid across Europe, train passengers can request a refund from the rail company in the event of cancellations and delays. From June 7, 2023, however, a new “Regulation on the rights and obligations of rail passengers” (EU 2021/782) with restricted rights will apply.
From this date, railway companies no longer have to pay compensation if the delay was caused by one of the following reasons: force majeure, such as a storm, fault on the part of a passenger, the behavior of third parties, for example if people enter the track system, or acts of sabotage. In addition, the delay or cancellation of the train must be unavoidable despite all due care.
It is good to know that strikes by railway staff do not fall under the concept of force majeure, as reported by the European Consumer Center. The railway company must continue to pay compensation for delays other than those mentioned above – as before, 25 percent of the fare for more than 60 and up to 119 minutes delay. From 120 minutes it is even 50 percent (based on a single journey).
Anyone who has bought a ticket for the outward and return journey is based on half the fare for calculating the reimbursement per route. For example, if the return ticket cost EUR 150 and the train was only delayed on the outward journey, then the 25 or 50 percent is based on half of EUR 150, i.e. EUR 75.
Attention: consequential damage resulting from the delay, such as a missed connecting flight or a hotel reservation that can no longer be used, will not be paid for by the railway company. The passenger remains seated on it. However, that was the case before.
Deutsche Bahn has more freedom when rebooking
There was also no change in the other passenger rights after a train cancellation or delay of more than 60 minutes: the railway company must continue to provide the passengers with food and drinks (if available or deliverable in a reasonable form). And the passenger has the right to be rebooked on a later train. From June 7th, however, passengers will have to put up with it if they are rebooked on the train of another railway company.
He can also organize the onward journey himself and charge the railway company for the costs. However, this only applies if the railway company has agreed to this or has not rebooked the ticket on another train or means of transport within 100 minutes of the train’s scheduled departure. In this case, the passenger can continue the journey, for example by bus.
If the trip has become pointless, the same applies as before June 7, 2023: travelers can request the full fare back from Deutsche Bahn. If the guest does not want to continue the journey due to the delay, he can interrupt the train journey and be taken back to the starting station free of charge. He is then also entitled to the amount for the portion of the route not driven. This rule also applies unchanged.
If the onward journey is not possible, the railways must pay for one night’s hotel accommodation and, where necessary, the price of the return journey to the hotel. This also applied in the old passenger rights regulation. What is new is that Deutsche Bahn can limit the hotel stay to three nights if the delay was caused by force majeure or the behavior of third parties.
If the passenger has checked in baggage and it is lost, the railway company is liable. This rule has not changed either. The European Consumer Center Germany has created a free sample letter generator “S.elbst-H.ilfe-T.ool” for anyone who wants to get money back from Deutsche Bahn or another railway company due to the new rules. This allows you to assert your rights yourself and directly with the transport company: selbsthilfe.evz.de/auf-reisen/bahn/.
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