According to parliamentary liaison to the Justice Ministry Alfred Hartenbach, the new law strengthens the rights of train passengers “without losing sight of the balance between the financial capacity and a secure ability to compete within the market for the rail companies.”
In cases of delays longer than one hour, rail service providers will now be required to provide a partial refund, alternative transportation or a hotel room in cases of extreme delay.
Meanwhile delays of at least one hour mean the train company must refund 25 percent of the passenger’s ticket – in addition to providing refreshments. In this case customers also have the right to cancel their trip and demand a full refund or later booking.
Delays of an hour or more with local train stretches entitle customers to claim taxi fare of up to €80.
Delays longer than two hours will cost companies a 50 percent refund.
Train companies will be allowed to deny claims under €4 and anything that can be blamed on customer error or unavoidable circumstances.
The law must still be approved by the Bundesrat, or the upper house of parliament.