THE RIGHTS OF PASSENGERS
OVERVIEW OF THE CONTENTS OF REGULATION N. 1177/2010 (CONCERNING THE RIGHTS OF PASSENGERS WHEN TRAVELLING BY SEA AND INLAND WATERWAY)
European regulation n. 1177/2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway became applicable on 18 December 2012 and envisages a minimum set of rights for passengers on the move
- for passenger services where the port of embarkation is situated in the territory of a Member State;
- for passenger services carried out by Union carriers where the port is situated outside the territory of a member state and the port is situated in a member state and
- for a cruise where the port of embarkation is situated in the territory of a Member State
EU regulation n° 1177/2010 does not affect the passenger’s right to turn to national courthouses for justice in order to obtain compensation for damages ensuing from cancellation or delays in transport services.
The right to assistance in the event of cancelled or delayed departures
Anyone who has purchased tickets for navigation services has a right not to be discriminated against, either directly or indirectly, on account of their nationality or of the place where the carrier or ticket seller is established within the European Union.
Should there be a delay of more than ninety minutes or should a passenger service or cruise be cancelled, the passengers must be offered snacks, meals or refreshments free of charge and in reasonable relation to the waiting time.
In the event of cancellation or delayed departure involving a stay of one or more nights for the passenger, the carrier must offer adequate accommodation free of charge, either on board or ashore, as well as transportation between the port terminal and the place of accommodation. If the carrier is able to prove that the cancellation or delay is caused by weather conditions that jeopardise the operational safety of the ship, it is relieved of its obligation to provide free accommodation.
The passenger is not entitled to receive assistance from the carrier if the former was informed of the cancellation or delay prior to purchasing the ticket or if the cancellation or delay are caused by the passenger himself or herself.
Alternative transport and refund in the event of cancelled or delayed departures
Should there be a delay of more than ninety minutes beyond the scheduled time of departure or a cancellation of a passenger service, the passengers may choose between:
- alternative transportation to the final destination in similar conditions, as soon as possible and without any extra charge;
- reimbursement of the ticket price, or where relevant, a return service free of charge to the first point of departure, as set out in the transport contract, at the earliest opportunity.
Compensation of the ticket price in the event of delay in arrival at the final destination
Passengers may ask for compensation amounting to 25% of the ticket price if the delay in arrival at the final destination is more than:
- one hour in case of a scheduled journey of up to four hours;
- two hours in case of a scheduled journey of more than four hours, but not exceeding eight hours;
- three hours in case of a scheduled journey of more than eight hours but not exceeding twenty four hours;
- six hours in case of a scheduled journey exceeding twenty four hours.
Passengers may ask for compensation amounting to 50% of the ticket price if the delay in arrival at the final destination is more than:
- two hours in case of a scheduled journey of up to four hours;
- four hours in case of a scheduled journey of more than four hours, but not exceeding eight hours;
- six hours in case of a scheduled journey of more than eight hours but not exceeding twenty four hours
- twelve hours in case of a scheduled journey exceeding twenty four hours.
Nonetheless, the carrier is relieved of its obligation to pay passengers compensation in the event of delay in arrival, if it can demonstrate that the delay is due to weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship, or to extraordinary circumstances hindering the performance of the passenger service which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.
Right to travel information (Art. 22)
All passengers travelling by sea or inland waterway have the right to receive adequate information throughout the journey. This includes the right to be informed about passenger rights, details about national enforcement bodies and transport access conditions for the disabled or for persons with reduced mobility.
In the event of cancellation or delay at departure, the passengers have the right to be informed about the delay or cancellation either by the carrier or by the terminal operator no later than thirty minutes after the scheduled departure time and of the estimated departure time and estimated arrival time as soon as said information become available.
Rights of disabled persons and people with reduced mobility.
In addition to general passenger rights, disabled persons and people with reduced mobility who avail themselves of navigation services are entitled to the following rights which provide them with access to transport and put them on an equal footing with the other passengers:
- right of access to transport for disabled persons and people with reduced mobility without discrimination
Carriers, travel agents and tour operators shall not refuse to accept a reservation, to issue or otherwise provide a ticket or to embark persons, on the grounds of disability or of reduced mobility as such. If it is not possible to bring a disabled person or anyone with reduced mobility on board on the grounds of safety or because embarking them is impossible due to the design of the ship or the port infrastructure and equipment, the carriers, travel agents and tour operators must make all reasonable efforts to propose an alternative acceptable form of transport to the person in question. Should the disabled individuals or people with reduced mobility who have made a booking and informed the carrier of their specific needs be nevertheless denied the right to embark, they may choose between their right to reimbursement or an alternative method of transport provided that safety requirements are abided by. Carriers, travel agents and tour operators cannot ask disabled people or persons with reduced mobility to pay a higher price for bookings or tickets. Bookings and tickets must be offered to disabled people and persons with reduced mobility at the same terms as all other passengers. The carriers and terminal operators shall have in place non-discriminatory access conditions for the transport of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility and accompanying persons.
- b) right to special assistance
Carriers and tour operators must provide disabled people and persons with reduced mobility with assistance free of charge at ports and on board the ship, including during the embarking and disembarking procedure. Disabled people and persons with reduced mobility must notify the carrier when they book the journey, or make advance purchase of the ticket, of their specific requirements as regards accommodation, seating, any services required or need to bring medical equipment. For any other type of assistance, disabled people and persons with reduced mobility must provide the carrier or the terminal operator with at least forty-eight hours prior warning and wait at a designated place at an appointed hour that must be earlier than the published embarkation time.
- c) right to compensation for loss of or damage to mobility equipment
If a carrier or terminal operator causes, as a result of fault or negligence on its own part, loss or damage to mobility equipment or other specific pieces of apparatus used by disabled people or persons with reduced mobility, said carrier/terminal operator must offer these latter individuals compensation of an amount that would enable them to replace said piece of equipment, or, if appropriate, pay the cost to have it repaired.
- Submission of complaints to carriers and national enforcement bodies
The carriers and terminal operators must have a system in place for dealing with complaints. To this end, within one month of receiving the complaint, the carrier or terminal operator must inform the passenger whether they think there are grounds for the complaint, feel it is unfounded or whether it is still under examination. The passenger must then receive a definitive response within two months of the complaint being received. Passengers may also submit complaints to the national enforcement bodies for any alleged infringements of EU regulation n. 1177/2010.
- The guarantee of passenger rights by national enforcement bodies and similar systems
The designated national bodies within the member states are responsible for enforcing the rights and duties set forth under EU regulation n° 1177/2010 as regards passenger services and cruises from ports situated on their territory and passenger services coming from another country to said ports. If a member state has decided to exclude passenger-transport services covered by public-service contracts or integrated service contracts from the scope of the regulation, it must ensure that a similar system is in place to safeguard passenger rights.
The body officially in charge of implementing EU Regulation n° 1177/2010 is ART (Autorità di Regolazione dei Trasporti - the Transport Regulation Authority) based in Via Nizza, 230 – postcode 10126 Turin Italy