Brussels OK Italian long-distance rail compensation scheme
Italy will be allowed to compensate commercial rail passenger operators for the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission ruled earlier this week.
Italy’s compensation scheme is one to the tune of 687 million euros and covers the period between July 1, 2020, and April 30 of last year. During this time, the number of passengers was reduced by 90 percent compared with 2019.
The long-distance rail services took a hit after a ban on interregional travels was introduced. The staggered seating arrangement, which cut the number of available seats in half, also impacted operators. The cancellation of events and working from home further reduced the number of people needing to travel for work, while restrictions on tourism negatively affected leisure travellers.
The measure announced on Tuesday is second-such compensation package: In March 2021, the Commission approved a 511-million-euro scheme. This covered the first three months of the pandemic.