European Commission calls on Italy to improve the accessibility of travel services
Published: 18 February 2014
People with disabilities have the same right to travel as other people.
The government of Italy has to make sure that people with disabilities
This means that:
The European Commission questions Italy over the enforcement of rights of passengers with disabilities. According to the official communication from the European Commission, Italy failed to uphold the rights of passengers with disabilities in three areas: coach and bus transport, maritime and inland waterway transport and the compensation fund. The government of Italy has two months to reply to the Commission how they plan to overcome these challenges.
The Commission found that at bus terminals, people with disabilities are not provided the assistance they need to use the service on an equal basis with others. The responsibility for ensuring the assistance should lie within a transport authority which in Italy has not been established. Therefore it is up to the Ministry of Transport to deal with the numerous complaints from passengers whose rights have been violated. However, the Ministry cannot impose sanctions on bus and coach operators who fail to provide support to persons with disabilities. The right to complain as well as the right to receive assistance thus remain unfulfilled.
Similar problem occurs also in the field of maritime and inland waterway transport. Italy is criticised for failing to establish institutional responsibility for dealing with the complaints from passenger. The EU regulation adopted last year requires member states to assign these competences to a specific institution. As stated by the Commission: ‘it is not acceptable that Italy has not taken yet all necessary measures to improve the quality of naval transport’.
Finally, the guarantee fund for passenger compensation in the event of tour operator’s bankruptcy is largely under-resourced. In August 2013, Italy has decided to double the annual budget of the fund from 200-230 to 400-460 thousands euro. Given the amount of complaints received each year, ‘it is clear that the amount of contributions will not be adequate’.
Source: Anffas, Italy