The European Commission has introduced a proposal for a regulation aimed at bolstering passenger rights within the realm of multimodal journeys, marking a significant stride towards harmonising standards and enhancing consumer protection across the EU.

The proposed regulation addresses the growing complexity of modern travel, where individuals often rely on a combination of flights, trains, buses, ferries, and other forms of transportation to reach their destinations. Such multimodal journeys, while offering flexibility and accessibility, also present unique challenges, including coordination issues, disruptions, and inconsistencies in passenger rights. The EU’s initiative seeks to mitigate these challenges by establishing a unified framework that ensures consistent rights and protections for passengers throughout their entire journey.

The rules vary depending on whether the customer has a single contract for the multimodal journey or has a combined multimodal ticket (made with a single payment), or separate multimodal tickets (with separate payments) for their journey.  

Key pillars of the proposed regulation include:

  1. Clear Information and Accessibility: Central to the regulation is the provision of clear and accessible information to passengers regarding their rights, as well as details about their journey and any potential disruptions. These information obligations apply to intermediaries, as well as transport operators. Intermediaries includes ticket vendors and is widely defined as anyone acting on behalf of operators or consumers in the conclusion of transport contracts.
  2. Assistance and Support: In the event of delays, cancellations, or missed connections, passengers should receive prompt assistance and support from transport providers. This assistance may include access to alternative transportation options, accommodation arrangements, or reimbursement for incurred expenses. Additional assistance and support should be given to persons with disabilities and reduced mobility. Where a booking was made through an intermediary, any reimbursement to the traveller can be made through the same intermediary.
  3. Compensation for Disruption: Passengers are entitled to compensation for significant delays or missed connections, except in cases where the disruption is beyond the control of the transport provider, such as extreme weather conditions or unforeseeable circumstances. Where a combined multimodal ticket is sold, in the event of one or more missed connections, the traveller is entitled to reimbursement of the total ticket amount, plus compensation equivalent to 75% of the value of the total ticket, from the operator OR the intermediary (emphasis added), unless the tickets were sold as separate transport contracts.
  4. Universal Application: Importantly, the regulations apply uniformly across all modes of transportation involved in the multimodal journey, regardless of whether the disruptions occur during the rail, bus, ferry, or other segments of travel. As such, operators (and intermediaries) could find themselves liable for reimbursement and compensation for delays and disruptions caused by the preceding transport operator, even where this is a different mode of transport.

The regulation doesn’t apply where the multimodal journey is sold as part of a package (as defined in the Package Travel Directive 2015 (PTD)), with the exception of some of the passenger rights relating to reimbursement, if reimbursement isn’t provided for in the PTD.

The introduction of the proposed regulation reflects the EU’s commitment to promoting mobility, sustainability, and consumer protection within the transportation sector, and is a significant milestone in the evolution of EU passenger rights. However, the regulation could result in significant liability for both transport operators and the travel companies who operate as intermediaries and ticket vendors on behalf of those transport operators, when selling multimodal tickets. This could result in transport operators and intermediaries moving away from selling multimodal tickets unless significant strides are taken to ensure accountability throughout the chain, such as rights to recover losses incurred by the intermediary or transport operator selling the multimodal ticket, where reimbursement or compensation has to be paid to passengers as a result of delays or disruption caused by other transport providers in the multimodal journey.

The regulation applies in addition to existing EU passenger rights regulations in relation to travel by air, rail or sea – thereby potentially creating confusion as to which regulation does or should apply in certain circumstances. Furthermore, the potential liability for reimbursement and compensation on intermediaries in relation to combined multimodal tickets could undermine the agency/intermediary model operated by many ticket vendors when selling transport tickets and marks a significant departure from other EU regulations on passenger rights, which generally only apply to carriers (or occasionally, tour operators).

The regulation is currently going through the EU’s legislative process and there may be changes made to the proposed rules as a result. Further updates are expected later this year.

If you’d like to discuss how these new proposed rules may affect your business, please contact Farina Azam (


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