On the enforcement of REGULATION (EC) No 1371/2007 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 October 2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations
On 3 December 2009, Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on rail passengers’ rights and obligations entered into force.
The aim of this Regulation is to guarantee the rights of passengers using rail transport and to improve the quality and efficiency of rail transport services.
The rights of the users of transport services include receiving information about the service both before and during the traveling.
The Bulgarian State Railways provide information to their customers in the form of brochures and instructions, information tables and notices that are placed near the ticketing counters and are easy to see, as well as in their Internet site.
If a change in the timetable occurs or if additional trains and cars are to be added to the regular trains in holidays and before holidays, the Bulgarian State Railways inform the public in a timely manner through the information media.
In the trains, this information is provided by the train personnel or through the sound equipment – when and where there are technical facilities for this.
The railway undertakings and the ticket sellers offer tickets, direct tickets and reservations – when these are available.
Before the beginning of the travel, the passenger is obliged to obtain a valid transportation ticket (a ticket or a pass), which is to be presented during the ticket check in the train. The transportation ticket is proof, until proved otherwise, of the conclusion and the content of the transportation contract, and its price contains an insurance for the carrier’s liability as well.
The Bulgarian State Railways ensure the selling of transportation tickets at the railway stations and at ticket agencies. In those cases when there is no ticket counter at a particular station, passengers buy tickets in the train.
The railway undertakings provide to the passengers the opportunity to take their bicycles with them against payment, if the bicycles are easily portable and this does not have an unfavourable effect on the relevant railway service and if the railway rolling stock allows this.
The Bulgarian State Railways provide to the passengers the opportunity to take bicycles with them in those trains that have cars with a section for carrying bicycles, or in luggage cars, on the platform in the last car of other trains or in the electrical or diesel multiple units.
Compensation to the passengers in cases of delays, missed connections or cancellation of a train for which the railway undertaking bears the responsibility.
Return of payment and re-direction
In cases in which the delay is expected to exceed 60 minutes at the time of arrival at the destination station, the passenger has the right:
- to give up the journey and receive back the full value of the ticket;
- if the journey has already started the passenger is entitled to give up part of the journey, return to the station of departure and receive back the amount for the unrealized part or parts of the journey, as well as for the already realized part or parts if the traveling is deemed unnecessary from the point of view of the initial plan for the passenger’s journey;
- to a continuation or a re-direction of the journey, in comparable transport conditions, to the final destination, when the first chance for this arises;
- to a continuation or a re-direction of the journey, in comparable transport conditions, to the final destination, on a later date convenient for the passenger.
Compensation for the value of the ticket
In international travels and if the traveling is entirely on the territory of EU member states, the passenger is entitled to a compensation by the railway undertaking for delays if a delay is foreseen between the station of departure and the final destination station shown in the ticket. The minimum amount that can be paid as a compensation is the equivalent of 4.00 Euro and is paid as a compensation for a delay, as follows:
a) 25% of the value of the ticket for delays from 60 to 119 minutes;
b) 50% of the value of the ticket for delays equivalent to or exceeding 120 minutes.
The passenger is not entitled to a compensation if he/she was informed about the delay before purchasing the ticket or if the delay that is due to a continuation with another type of transport or e re-direction is less than 60 minutes.
Railway transport services to passengers must be used by the citizens as a whole. Disabled people, including physically handicapped, have the same right to free movement, freedom of choice and non-discrimination as all other citizens.
The transport servicing of people with reduced mobility is carried out by the station services of the Bulgarian Red Cross at the railway stations of Sofia, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Burgas and Varna, and by the Information Desks at the railway stations of Pleven, Cherven bryag, Gorna Oryahovitsa, Yambol and Shumen. It is at these stations or through the telephone numbers shown in the Internet site of the Bulgarian State Railways that orders for organizing their transport are received. The terms for making the order are the following:
- for carrying out the transport service within the country – at least 24 hours before the traveling;
- for carrying out the transport service outside the country or in the cases of necessity of using combined Train-Automobile transport – at least 48 hours before the traveling;
People with reduced mobility can travel on the territory of the country in certain trains in which there are specialized cars with special seats for people moving in wheelchairs and their accompanying persons. There are toilets in these trains meeting the international requirements.
This category of passengers can also use without any problem the diesel and electrical Desiro multiple units traveling on various routes in the country. Each multiple unit is equipped with a portable folding platform for servicing people with reduced mobility. No preliminary order is necessary for traveling in these trains. The servicing of people with reduced mobility for their getting on and off the train is carried out by the transport personnel.
How can compensation be obtained?
For the compensation request in the case of a train delay to be valid, the passenger is to file a written request for compensation and remuneration of the relevant amount. The request, together with the originals of the tickets and a confirmation of the delay, should be sent to the following address: BDZ – Passenger Transport, KPMR Department, 1 Zavodska Street, 1202 Sofia. The registering of a request does not automatically lead to a confirmation of the compensation.
The rights of passengers are based on: CIV, i.e. the International Conditions of Sale (French: Conditions Internationales de Vente), the Uniform Rules Concerning the Contract for International Carriage of Passengers and Luggage by Rail (CIV); Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations; the General Conditions of Carriage for Rail Passengers (GCC-CIV/PRR); BDZ Order 43/2001 for the rail carriage of passengers, luggage and luggage consignments; the BDZ Tariff for the carriage of passengers, luggage and luggage consignments in internal traffic.