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Ferry passengers set for new rights for delayed journeys

Posted by Richard Hammond at 05:19 on Wednesday 07 July 2010

The European Parliament has voted in favour of giving ferry passengers similar rights to air passengers if their journeys are cancelled or delayed.

Currently, ferry passengers generally have the right to a refund or a space on a later sailing if their journey is disrupted. However, the European Parliament has now voted in favour of specific rules for any waterway travel within the EU, including the right to a refund or re-routing if a journey is cancelled or delayed for more than 90 minutes, compensation of between 25% and 50% of a ticket price if a journey is delayed or cancelled, and free meals and accommodation of up to three nights - costing up to 80 euros (£66) a night - for travellers stranded by a cancellation or delay (source: BBC News).

The new rules for sea passengers - similar to the protection that exists for airline customers - are likely to come into force in two years.
Commenting on the potential new European ruling, Rochelle Turner, Head of Research for Which? Holiday, said:
This is great news for ferry passengers, putting them on an equal footing with airline passengers.  “All ferry passengers will now be able to rely on getting fair and adequate compensation if they are delayed or if their trip is cancelled, regardless of the ferry operator they use.”"This is great news for ferry passengers, putting them on an equal footing with airline passengers.  "All ferry passengers will now be able to rely on getting fair and adequate compensation if they are delayed or if their trip is cancelled, regardless of the ferry operator they use.”
"This is great news for ferry passengers, putting them on an equal footing with airline passengers.
 “All ferry passengers will now be able to rely on getting fair and adequate compensation if they are delayed or if their trip is cancelled, regardless of the ferry operator they use.”

The new rules for sea passengers - similar to the protection that exists for airline customers - are likely to come into force in two years.

Commenting on the potential new European ruling, Rochelle Turner (left), Head of Research for Which? Holiday, said:

"This is great news for ferry passengers, putting them on an equal footing with airline passengers.

“All ferry passengers will now be able to rely on getting fair and adequate compensation if they are delayed or if their trip is cancelled, regardless of the ferry operator they use.”

The BBC reports that Siim Kallas, vice-president of the European Commission and in charge of transport issues, said the change in regulations would "extend passenger rights to further transport modes".

"This means that passengers travelling by water will benefit from the same basic quality service standards wherever they travel in the European Union.

"We hope that the European framework of passengers' rights might soon be completed by the adoption of a regulation on rights for passengers travelling by bus and coach."

The new rights include:
  • 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 for up to three nights, 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 as 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 regulations, through, where appropriate, the application of penalties.

>> There are over 40 million ferry crossings a year.

>> Over 70 destinations can be reached by ferries departing from UK ports, including Santander and Bilbao in Spain and Esbjerg in Denmark.

For tickets and itineraries of ferry routes between the UK, Ireland and Continental Europe, see greentraveller's Ferry Journey Planner.

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