Are you used to seeing your TGV arrive thirty minutes after the announced departure time? You will soon no longer be reimbursed for this delay. Indeed, on April 29, 2021, the European Parliament adopted a new regulation on the “rights and obligations of rail passengers”. This text has now been in force since June 7, 2023. But what exactly does it change?

“In the event of a delay, travelers should be offered alternatives to continue their journey or be re-routed under comparable transport conditions. The needs of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility should be taken into account in such a case”, reads paragraph 36 of the new regulations. However, this paragraph does not indicate that you will always be reimbursed, but only redirected to another train. However, train delays seem to be more and more systematic.

According to the Transport Service Quality Authority (AQST), 35.7% of long-distance trains were late in 2021. This includes international transport, TGVs, as well as intercity trains. Nevertheless, “the punctuality of TGV and international services is improving”, according to the results of the study. Indeed, we noted -4 points behind. However, this percentage remains high. Between 1954 and 2021, this represents a threefold increase in delays.

Among the reasons given by the institution attached to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, we find the growing number of travelers each year, but also major social movements and the aging of rails and rolling stock. If the French had the possibility of being reimbursed regardless of the reason for the delay of the trains, this rule is no longer relevant.

In the event of a delay of more than sixty minutes, train users could claim compensation of between 25 and 75% of the value of the ticket when purchased. However, this refund will now depend on the reason for the delay. Indeed, the European regulation does not provide for any compensation in the event of a delay due to exceptional circumstances.

“A railway undertaking should not be liable to pay compensation if it can prove that the delay resulted from extraordinary circumstances such as extreme weather conditions, a major natural disaster jeopardizing the safe operation of the service”, can we read in paragraph 37 of the European regulation. “Third party acts” will also not be subject to reimbursement. Nevertheless, other solutions are offered to travellers. Which ones?

If it will no longer be possible to be reimbursed for exceptional situations or delays caused by “acts of third parties”, the regulations provide for another solution. Indeed, “the railway undertaking may authorize the passenger, at his request, to conclude contracts with other transport service providers which enable him to reach the final destination under comparable conditions, in this case, the railway company reimburses the passenger for the costs he has incurred”, specifies Article 18.

Furthermore, for other reasons involving a delay of more than sixty minutes, there will always be the possibility of being reimbursed in full or in part.