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Federal Railways expects more demands for cash

After numerous delays and cancellations in international rail service, Swiss Federal Railways expects more customers to ask for refunds.

It has been a year since the European Union regulations granting better passenger rights have taken effect. These also apply to passengers crossing the border into Switzerland.

If a train leaving France or Germany arrives late in Switzerland, customers can ask to be reimbursed a portion of the ticket price.

According to Swiss Federal Railways spokesman Christian Ginsig, his company received 17,800 requests between January and October 2010.

“We can assume that there will be a lot more,” said Ginsig in Sunday’s NZZ am Sonntag, a Zurich-based newspaper. Considering the amount of snow and ice in November and December, the figure could easily increase to more than 20,000 requests for the whole of 2010.

Swiss Federal Railways can ask its partners in Germany and France for money to help cover those requests.

The EU rules dictate that passengers get half of their money back if the cross-border journey results in a more than two-hour delay; they get 25 per cent back for delays of more than an hour.

These rules do not apply in Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU. Within Switzerland, trains are only obliged to bring passengers to their destination before the close of business.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR