Rain, snow, ice, storm, heat wave... So many climatic hazards, coupled with human hazards – the famous "passenger incidents" – which regularly cause delays for trains. When they arrive more than an hour behind the scheduled time at the destination station, passengers can claim compensation of 25% of the ticket price, and even 50% if the delay is more than two hours.
Be careful, however: from this Wednesday, June 7, delays due to "exceptional circumstances" – that is to say situations totally independent of the railway company – will no longer be eligible for these refunds, has instituted a European text. Substantial savings for railway companies? Not at SNCF.
"SNCF Voyageurs will continue to be better than the European regulation, on the main lines (TGV and Intercités), the railway company prides itself. We will continue to compensate travelers as we do today, including for exceptional external causes, continues a spokesperson for the company. There is no change in that. Better: the SNCF applies compensation from 30 minutes late (except on OuiGo) and will continue to do so, where the European regulation sets the threshold from 60 minutes.
"A decision favourable to travellers"
For once, the National Federation of Transport Users Associations (Fnaut) applauds. "We are very satisfied with this decision in favour of travellers," says Marc Debrincat, Secretary General of Fnaut. Demonstrations by nurses, peasants, wild boars, whatever, and all other exceptional circumstances that cause delays will continue to be compensated. »
Annoyance, on the other hand, against the text that made the European regulation applicable in French law. "The government has retained most of the possible exceptions," sighs Michel Quidort, the vice-president of Fnaut. From a more global and European point of view, Fnaut also deplores this desire "to align rail law with that of aviation, while a railway company, whose argument is that of reliability, is not subject to the vagaries of the weather like an airline".