The European Disability Forum (EDF) welcomes the European Commission’s initiative to gather evidence for the purpose of assessing the impact of the EU passenger rights regulatory framework, particularly related to Regulations on air passenger rights for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM), waterborne and bus & coach passenger rights.
Based on the impact assessment, including the issues identified during the evaluations of the three regulations on the rights of passengers with reduced mobility travelling by air, passengers travelling by waterborne transport, and passengers travelling by bus & coach, the Commission will suggest one of three actions to address existing issues – 1. soft law (inc. recommendations or interpretative guidelines), 2. targeted amendments to the mentioned regulations, or 3. a new legislative instrument addressing horizontal issues.
EDF would like to stress that to improve rights of passengers with disabilities in the three modes of transport, soft law measures would not be sufficient, as there are gaps not only in the implementation of the Regulations (e.g., enforcement issue, issues with interpretation of the legal texts, etc.) but also in the legal protections provided by the Regulations (e.g., ‘safety concerns’ still a way of denying boarding to passengers with disabilities, lack of full compensation for damaged or lost mobility equipment in air travel, etc.). Recommendations and interpretative guidelines are of course useful to support proper implementation of EU law, but the laws themselves have to provide sufficient protection to start with.
We provide examples of issues persons with disabilities face in relation to air, waterborne, and bus & coach travel, with recommendations on how to address existing problems.
It is important to point out that data on equal access to relevant transport modes by persons with disabilities is not gathered systematically (e.g. due to absence of reporting obligations for carriers), which makes providing evidence-based policy recommendations more difficult. Lack of data on discrimination against passengers with disabilities therefore should not be interpreted as evidence that passenger rights laws in their current form and implementation provide sufficient protection to persons with disabilities. EDF has tried to fill in the gap in data collection by compiling cases of discrimination and inaccessibility related to travel in all transport modes over the years, and has very recently launched an online database to gather evidence on transport discrimination.
Read our full feedback below:
- EDF Feedback to Call for Evidence for an Impact Assessment of EU Passenger Rights Regulations (Word)
- EDF Feedback to Call for Evidence for an Impact Assessment of EU Passenger Rights Regulations (PDF)
Mher Hakobyan, EDF Accessibility Officer (email@example.com).