Over the last thirty years, there has been a boom in mobility in Europe. For millions of citizens travel has become a reality, indeed a right. In the light of this, the EU has committed itself to placing users at the heart of transport policy. The Regulation 181/2011 was published on 28 February 2011 and its provisions will apply as from 1 March 2013 The Regulation fully applies to long distance services (i.e. of more 250 km), whereas only some of its provisions apply to all services, including those of shorter distance. The new rights applicable to long distance services (i.e. of more than 250 km) include amongst others:
- adequate assistance
- guarantee of reimbursement or rerouting .
- Information when the service is cancelled or delayed in departure.
- protection of passengers in case of death, injury, loss or damage
- specific assistance free of charge for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility
Additionally, the following rights will be applicable to all services (including those below 250 km):
- non-discrimination with respect to tariffs and contract conditions for passengers based – directly or indirectly – on nationality,
- non-discriminatory treatment of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility as well financial compensation for loss or damage of their mobility equipment in case of accident,
- minimum rules on travel information for all passengers before and during their journey as well as general information about their rights in terminals and online; where feasible, this information shall be provided in accessible formats upon request precisely in the interest of the persons with reduced mobility,
- a complaint handling mechanism by carriers available to all passengers,
- independent national bodies in each Member State with the mandate to enforce the Regulation and where appropriate to impose penalties.
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