Less than half of Bulgarians are aware of EU Passenger Rights – poll
Forty-five per cent of Bulgarians who have travelled by air, long-distance rail, coach, ship or ferry in the previous 12 months know that the EU has put in place rights for passengers, according to the results of a Eurobarometer survey released on January 13.
This is slightly higher than the EU average of 43 per cent.
Among all Bulgarians polled, whether or not they have travelled in the past 12 months, the rate was 35 per cent, higher than the EU average of 32 per cent.
The poll in Bulgaria involved 1044 interviews, done between February 19 and March 3 2019.
Among Bulgarians who had travelled by air in the 12 months before the survey, 86 per cent said that they had experienced no disruptions, compared with the EU average of 72 per cent.
Six per cent said that they had experienced a departure delay of two hours or more, one per cent delayed, lost or damage luggage, one per cent an arrival delay of three hours or more, three per cent a flight cancellation, and one per cent said that they had been denied boarding because of overbooking.
Of those who had travelled by rail, 72 per cent of Bulgarians said that they had not experienced any disruptions, compared with an EU average of 62 per cent.
Among those who had encountered problems, 17 per cent said that they had experienced a departure delay of one to two hours, one per cent a train cancellation, eight per cent an arrival delay of one to two hours, two per cent a departure delay of more than two hours and two per cent an arrival delay of more than two hours.
Of those who had experienced travel disruptions, 83 per cent of Bulgarians said that they had not lodged an official complaint, higher than the EU average of 72 per cent. Twelve per cent had complained to the transport company and one per cent to the national authority.
Commenting on the Eurobarometer survey, European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, said: “The European Union is the only area in the world where citizens are protected by a full set of passenger rights.
“However, these rights need to be better known and easier to understand and enforced. Our rules should also provide more legal certainty to passengers and the industry.
“This is why the Commission proposed to modernise air and rail passenger rights. We now need Council and the European Parliament to swiftly reach agreement on them to ensure that people travelling in the EU are effectively protected,” Vălean said.
Passenger rights are defined at EU level. They are applied by transport providers and enforced by national bodies.
Disparities between national practices can make it hard for passengers to get a clear picture of what to do and to whom to turn, especially as passengers often move across EU borders, the European Commission said.
The Commission said that it had already stepped up efforts to make passenger rights clearer, and to raise awareness about these rights.
“The Commission has done so through legislative proposals for air and rail passenger rights, through guidelines, and through regular communication about relevant case law. The Commission also launched an awareness-raising campaign,” the statement said.