The rail sector is fully engaged in addressing the important societal need for better accessibility of persons with disabilities to public infrastructure. In this regard, rail Infrastructure Managers (IMs) are committed to continue investing in making the railway infrastructure, such as stations and platforms, accessible for all users including persons with reduced mobility (PRM). At European level, Regulation (EU) 1300/2014 on the Technical Specifications for Interoperability relating to accessibility of the Union’s rail system for persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility (TSI PRM) applies to infrastructure, operation and traffic management, telematics applications and rolling stock where accessibility of persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility is necessary. Only new or renewed infrastructure and/or rolling stock will have to comply with the accessibility rules as defined in the TSI PRM.
EIM in action
- EIM advocates the accessibility of persons with disabilities to rail infrastructures viaEIM’s PRM Working Group. The speakers of the EIM’s PRM WG are regularly attending meetings of the working parties of the EU Agency for Railways (ERA);
- EIM is a member of the ‘European Commission TSI Advisory Body’, a European Commission Expert Group dealing with the PRM TSI. EIM speakers ensure a fair balance between accessibility, financial impact, operations and human resources requirements.
- Throughout 2020, EIM has been involved in the discussions on the recast of the Passengers’ Rights and Obligations Regulation. This Regulation partly touches upon the rights of PRM travellers, notably in the domain of pre-notification times at railway stations when they request assistance.
- EIM’s PRM Working Group has discussed some change requests on the PRM TSI and introduced them to ERA for further analysis. It has also contributed to the EC comparative analysis of the common priorities and criteria of the Member States to further the implementation of the PRM TSI within the National Implementation Plans (NIPs).
- EIM’s PRM Working Group will continue discussing the TSI change requests with ERA.
- It will also pursue the discussion on the PRM-rights within the framework of the related discussions in ERA regarding the PRM TSI. The Working Group will also regularly meet with the similar working group of CER.
EC Regulation (EU)1300/2014
Since the “Third Railway Package” of 2007, the EU guarantees the rights of transport passengers through Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007. This Regulation defines a minimum level of protection for rail passengers across the EU, including rights for persons with disabilities or persons with reduced mobility (‘PRM’).
In 2017, the European Commission proposed a revision of this Regulation in order to address some issues, notably: the availability and accessibility of information; passengers’ rights in situations of delay; missed connections or train cancellations and more appropriate and higher compensations and assistance for PRMs. After a very long negotiation process, the EU co-decision bodies reached a provisional agreement in 2020.
EIM in action
EIM advocated a balanced approach between rights and obligations;
- EIM maintained a close dialogue with members of the European Parliament (MEPs) dealing with rail passengers’ rights.
- EIM closely monitored the topic and engaged in and facilitated dialogue between its members and also with other sector stakeholders as well as the EU Commission and the EU Parliament.
- In early 2021, the EU co-decision bodies reached a final agreement on the new Regulation;
- Various stakeholders may continue to press the EU for further reforms, especially regarding through-ticketing and the availability of tickets for third-party ticket vendors.