Rail Passengers’ Rights – update on the Internal Market Committee vote

7 June 2018

The IMCO committee voted on amendments to the Rail Passengers Rights regulation on 4 June. Ahead of the vote we contacted IMCO members to ask them to support our voting recommendations.

Many of the amendments adopted are positive for passengers with disabilities. For example, IMCO MEPs adopted amendments to involve passengers with disabilities and DPOs in disability-related training and supported accessible information provisions. Other amendments are problematic – see below - and we will need to ensure that Transport Committee MEPs listen to our concerns before and during their vote on 21 June.

The adopted IMCO Committee opinion will soon be published and made available on the European Parliament's website.

Regarding prenotification, compromise amendment 26 on article 24 was adopted:

“Assistance shall be provided on condition that the railway undertaking, the station manager, the ticket vendor or the tour operator with which the ticket was purchased is notified of the person’s need for such assistance upon booking the ticket or upon arrival at the staffed station or in the case of unstaffed stations at least 3 hours before the assistance is needed. The passenger shall be able to book such assistance free of charge. Where a ticket or season ticket permits multiple journeys, one notification shall be sufficient provided that adequate information on the timing of subsequent journeys is provided. Such notifications shall be forwarded to all other railway undertakings and station managers involved in the person’s journey”

This compromise amendment was supported by the following political groups: S&D, ECR, ALDE, GUE/NGL and Greens/EFA.

This was good news and a clear indication of MEPs’ intention to support passengers with disabilities and uphold their rights under the UNCRPD.

Unfortunately, in addition to the compromise amendment above, amendment 292 tabled by MEP Roza Thun, from the EPP group, was also adopted, against our recommendations. This adds the following wording to the compromise: “With exemption for rail station handling less than 10 000 passengers per day, that have to ensure assistance with at least 24 hours pre-notification”

This addition is not acceptable to EDF. It is not in line with the UNCRPD and we’re disappointed that a small majority of MEPs supported it. It is not acceptable for persons with disabilities to have different rights depending on the size of the station they travel from. It also sends the wrong message to Transport (TRAN) Committee members. We hope they will choose to significantly increase access to rail travel for 80 million passengers with disabilities.

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