EU legislation for the protection of passengers’ rights

Passengers’ mobility ensures the right of persons to free movement.

For this reason passengers need a common set of principles, so that they can be more easily informed about their rights if they encounter problems during a journey, regardless of the mode of transport chosen or regardless of whether the journey is entirely made within the same country, the European Union or crossing its borders.

For these reasons, the European Union has committed to place passengers at the heart of its transport policy in the different transport modes.


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Rail Transport

EU legislation regulates rail passengers’ rights and obligations based on Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007. The Transport Regulation Authority is responsible for assessing infringements of the provisions of the above Regulation and for imposing penalties pursuant to Legislative decree No 70 of17 April 2014.

The legislation is aimed at offering better protection to rail passengers while ensuring better and more reliable rail services. Rail passengers’ rights shall apply to all international rail passengers’ services in the EU.


Bus and coach transport

EU legislation regulates the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport based on Regulation (EU) No 181/2011. The Transport Regulation Authority is responsible for assessing infringements of the provisions of the above Regulation and for imposing penalties pursuant to Legislative Decree No 169 of 4 November 2014.

The provisions on bus and coach transport entered into force on the 1st of March 2013. The above Regulation fully applies to long-distance services (i.e. where the scheduled distance of the service is 250 km or more), whereas only a few provisions apply to all services, including those covering shorter distances.

Article 29 of (EU) Regulation No 181/2011 provides that by 1 June 2015 (and every two years thereafter) the Transport Regulation Authority shall publish a report on the activity carried out in the previous two years, containing, in particular, a description of the measures adopted in order to implement this Regulation together with statistical data relating to complaints and penalties imposed.


Transport by sea and inland waterway

EU legislation regulates the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway based on Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010, amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 was published on 17 December 2010 and entered into force on 18 December 2012. This Regulation shall apply in respect of passengers travelling:

  • on passenger services where the port of embarkation is situated in the territory of a Member State;
  • on passenger services where the port of embarkation is situated outside the territory of a Member State and the port of disembarkation is situated in the territory of a Member State, provided that the service is operated by a Union carrier;
  • on a cruise where the port of embarkation is situated in the territory of a Member State.

The Regulation shall not apply in respect of passengers travelling on ships certified to carry up to 12 passengers, on ships which have a crew responsible for the operation of the ship composed of not more than three persons or where the distance of the overall passenger service is less than 500 metres, one way, on excursion and sightseeing tours or on ships not propelled by mechanical means.

Under article 3 of Legislative decree No 129 of 29 July 2015, entered into force on 3 September 2015, the Transport Regulation Authority is the body in charge, at national level, of the assessment of infringements of (EU) Regulation No 1177/2010 and of the imposition of sanctions provided for by the same legislative decree implementing the legislation on passengers’ rights.


Air transport

EU legislation regulates passengers’ rights in air transport mainly through Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights.

In Italy compliance with EU Regulation is entrusted with Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile (Italian Civil Aviation Authority).