Lib Dem MEP welcomes EU top court ruling on rail compensation

Liberal Democrat MEP and European Transport Spokesperson Phil Bennion has welcomed today’s ruling by the European Court of Justice that rail passengers are entitled to a partial refund of the price of their train ticket in the event of significant delay, even where that delay is attributable to “force majeure”. 

EU laws on rail passengers’ rights currently provide that a passenger facing a delay of an hour or more may request a partial reimbursement of the price paid for the ticket.

The amount of that compensation is at least 25% of that price in the event of a delay of between 60 and 119 minutes and 50% in the event of a delay of 120 minutes or more.

However, train companies often avoid paying compensation by claiming delays were beyond the company’s control such as bad weather and industrial action by its workforce. The EU court has now banned this exemption.

Phil Bennion commented:

“The EU courts are on the right track in standing up for the rights of the passengers.”

“Force majeur appears to have been abused by train companies in the past, but now they will no longer be able to simply dismiss compensation claims as ‘out of their control’. Hopefully this should put an end to train operators denying compensation because there are the wrong types of leaves on the line.”

The full European Court of Justice ruling can be found here: http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2013-09/cp130119en.pdf

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