EU Commission has adopted the thrid railway package on 3rd March 2004. It contains measures to revitalise the European railways. The package consists of a Communication, four legislative measures and a working document on an extended impact assessment for the gradual opening up of the market for international passenger services.
One of the legislative measures is the amendment of Directive 91/440/EEC on the development of the Community’s railways opening up by 2010 the market for international passenger services by rail.
Georg Jarzembowski presented a report asking for more competition in the railways. On the basis of this report, the MEPs Transport Committee proposed an amendment aiming at including national passenger services in the legislation – and not just international ones as proposed in the package proposed by the Commission.
It has been proposed to open up international passenger services to competition by 1st January 2008 and national passenger services by 1st January 2012. The committee also demanded to let Member States opening up their networks earlier if they so wish. This amendment has been adopted by the European Parliament.
In this session, MEPs also voted in favour of the introduction of a compensation system for train travellers. This compensation should not only apply to international rail passengers, as the Commission had proposed, but also to national ones.
According to the amendment, the following minimum compensations should be paid to passengers for delays no later than one month after application has been made:
– 25% of the fare for a delay of one hour or more
– 50% for a delay of 2 hours or more
– 75% for a delay of 3 hours or more In adopting a range of amendments, Parliament took the view that the right of persons with a reduced mobility should be fundamentally guaranteed.
Therefore railway operators must guarantee accessibility of stations, platforms and means of transport by eliminating all obstacles to boarding, disembarkation and remaining on board.