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Author Topic: (Not so) new French compensation rules  (Read 4019 times)
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« on: November 29, 2016, 18:41:14 »

There's a news item in France today about more generous compensation for delayed trains, from 1st December. SNCF (Societe Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais - French National Railways) were to announce this on Thursday, i.e. with zero notice! (but since it's hit the news they've gone public today).

The story runs that there was an EC regulation (1371/2007) covering all conditions of carriage including compensation, coming into force in 2009, but with let-outs. That's all been translated into UK (United Kingdom) regulations already, as the current conditions.

There were exemptions allowed, unlimited for urban/regional service and for up to three 5-year terms for long-distance. Britain and France (and most other countries) took these up in 2009.  For trains between member states you might expect no exemptions (but I can't find that anywhere). Eurostar in any case has an odd pre-existing legal status, I think.

However, unlike other countries, France didn't renew its exemption for the second term in 2014. And either SNCF have just realised that, or more likely they always knew but some outsider has recently spotted it. So now they have to apply the EC rules immediately.

The relevant provision is 1371/2007 article 17:
1. Without losing the right of transport, a passenger may request compensation for delays from the railway undertaking if he or she is facing a delay between the places of departure and destination stated on the ticket for which the ticket has not been reimbursed in accordance with Article 16. The minimum com-pensations for delays shall be as follows:
(a) 25 % of the ticket price for a delay of 60 to 119 minutes,
(b) 50 % of the ticket price for a delay of 120 minutes or more.

In fact the money won't change, as the EC rates are minimal and SNCF already offer more. Current SNCF compensation rates are:
  • For TER and suburban (Francilien): Nothing.
  • For TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse) and Intercit├ęs, if the fault is SNCF's:
  • ....25% for 30-119 minutes
  • ....50% for 120-179 minutes
  • ....75% for over 180 minutes
  • International trains: varies, some as EC rules and some down to 30 minutes.
  • Payment in vouchers or (except for 25% ones) bank transfer (BIC/IBAN).
  • There are lots of special rules too, including those for seasons (abonnements/forfaits).

And for any train you can get a bulletin de retard - no cash value, but for you to show your boss or teacher as an excuse. Sometimes they hand them out on the platform (and before the war they had them on the Metro), or else you can apply on line.

What is different in the EC rules is that they don't allow the "not our fault" excuse. (I think that's why everyone opted out.) This was quite likely an omission, as there is an amendment to the EC rules going through to put that in in six months time. But for now...
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