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Brussels, 25 November 2010

New rights for passengers travelling by water

The European Parliament and the Council have given their signature to a regulation that will enable passengers travelling by sea and by inland waterways to enjoy the same rights wherever they travel in the European Union. Among these rights is the right to information or compensation in the case of delay or cancellation of a journey. In addition, the new rules also offer people with a disability or reduced mobility protection when travelling over water. The new regulation will complement existing rights for air and rail passengers.

Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "People are entitled to enjoy the same levels of quality and safety wherever they travel within the European Union. I am very glad that after introducing rights for air and rail passengers, we are now also able to introduce similar rights for passengers travelling by water."

A consistent legal framework of passenger rights

This regulation is a significant step forward towards reaching the aim of achieving a consistent legal framework in the interest of passengers travelling in all modes. EU legislation already protects passengers travelling by air and by rail. The new rules are also expected to increase the quality and competitiveness of the EU transport industry by creating a level playing field for operators in the maritime sector.

The Rights

The new rights include amongst others:

  • guarantee of reimbursement or rerouting in situations of cancellation or of delay at departure of more than 90 minutes;

  • adequate assistance (such as snacks, meals, refreshments and, where necessary, accommodation up to three nights, with a financial coverage up to €80 per night) in situations of cancellation or delay at departure of more than 90 minutes;

  • compensation, between 25% and 50% of the ticket price, in situations of delay in arrival or cancellation of journeys;

  • non-discriminatory treatment and specific assistance free of charge for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility both at port terminals and on board ships, as well financial compensation for loss or damage of their mobility equipment;

  • minimum rules on information for all passengers before and during their journey, as well as general information about their rights in terminals and on board ships;

  • establishment by carriers and terminal operators of complaint handling mechanism available to passengers;

  • establishment of independent national bodies for the enforcement of the regulation, through, where appropriate, the application of penalties.

Next steps

The regulation on new rights for people travelling by sea and by inland waterways should be published in the official journal on 9 December 2010, and would enter into effect at the end of 2012.

The Commission has also proposed rights for passengers travelling by bus or coach, which will still have to be agreed by the Council and the European Parliament. A rapid adoption of this regulation on road transport becomes essential to complete the European legal framework on passenger rights for all modes of transport. The Commission is doing its utmost to aid the co-legislators to find an agreement on this file, and hopes that this would be possible in the coming weeks.

To find out more about passenger rights in all modes of transport, see

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