Belgian Rail to compensate for train delays

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A new five year management agreement will see a more punctual NMBS who will keep passengers informed if trains run late via sms.

9 June 2008

BELGIUM - The new management agreement agreed by the federal government for the NMBS hopes to see punctual trains and improved communication with the passengers.   

With the number of users of Belgian Rail expected to increase by 2012, Belgian Rail service must improve significantly in the next five years, says Inga Vervotte, minister responsible for Public enterprises.

Concretely, the NMBS is aiming for annual growth of the number of travellers by 3.8 percent - up to 234.4 million travellers in 2012. This is a quarter more than in 2006.
Punctuality is an important element of the management agreement, as is passenger information.

Passengers whose trains are delayed for 15 minutes or longer will receive compensation. Part or all of their tickets will be reimbursed, depending on how long the delay actually was.

By 2010, an sms service should be ready for use to inform passengers of all delays.

BTTB is cautiously optimistic with the new management agreement

The Union of Train, Tram and Bus users (BTTB) is happy with the new management agreement. This is finally a management agreement which is service-orientated, says the BTTB.

The union hopes, however, that all the good intentions are actually put in to action.

"It all depends on the implementation," says Kees Smilde of the BTTB. "This is the fourth management agreement. With the others, we noticed that there were no sanctions for regulations that were not followed. We'll have to wait and see how the agreement is actually implemented."

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