Cross border rail travel set to get easier

Friday, 6 May 2011 8:51 AM

The European Commission is trying to make rail travel easier in a bid to make it a more attractive option for travellers, who currently find it easier to fly or drive than battle every country’s different rules and regulations.

They are forcing a standardisation of rail passenger data on fares and timetables which means bookings and ticket information can be exchanged between rail companies in different countries, as well as ticket sellers.

Currently passengers find it difficult to book cross border rail tickets, with the exception of a small number of cross border rail routes, which means rail travel often struggles to compete with air travel.

From 2012 though all railway companies and ticket sellers will have to have adapted their IT data systems to make sure they are in line with EU wide standards so all will be using the same practices, making booking cross border tickets and gaining travel information will be easier.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: "If we are serious about getting people onto rail, and particularly about having rail compete with air travel over middle distances then we need to offer rail passengers the seamless planning and ticketing offers that match the airlines.”

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