Home » Zacchaeus (Transport Authority): “Real powers to defend the rights of travelers. Penalties for companies are negligible”

Zacchaeus (Transport Authority): “Real powers to defend the rights of travelers. Penalties for companies are negligible”

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Zacchaeus (Transport Authority): “Real powers to defend the rights of travelers. Penalties for companies are negligible”

ROMA – In an Italy of airports, railways, highways, buses and subways, our Transport Authority fights vigorously to protect users and beat up the most unscrupulous and disorganized businesses. But the Authority’s powers to impose fines are limited by lenient laws. Its very range remains too limited.

In Annual report to Parliament, Nicola Zaccheo, president of the Authority and guarantor of the sector, asks for more powers and more strength. The dream, the goal is to play a visible role in the next decisive months. The European funds of the relaunch plan (the PNRR) will change the country’s transport and the Authority wants to count more.

About the fines, Zacchaeus is very clear: the extent of the fines – he explains- “it is completely inadequate to ensure the effectiveness and dissuasive effectiveness” fines. It is as if the city police made us pay only one euro for a parking ban: anyone would consider it convenient to park outside the strips.

Already between January and March 2022, in two hearings in Parliament, Zacchaeus clarifies his thoughts. The transport companies do us a serious wrong and are sanctioned by the Authority. But they quickly find a way to escape responsibility. A generous 1981 law allows them to pay the fine in a reduced form, only for one third of the amount.

Moreover, the fines – thanks to a very generous decree of 2014 – they start already very low. And they are not comparable to those (much more serious) that another supervisory authority (the Antitrust) can decide in the case of unfair commercial practices. The Antitrust Authority can reach up to 5 million, which is already a higher figure.

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Nicola Zaccheo, president of the Transport Authority

Nicola Zaccheo, president of the Transport Authority

Furthermore, the rules themselves are ambiguous. In theory a railway company, you can ask us for a supplement if – by his own decision and his seat problems – he makes us travel in first class instead of second class as we wanted. The railway company itself can deny us a refund if it makes us travel in second class with a first ticket.

The Transport Authority has tried to react to this situation, for example in defense of subscribers and commuters which should count on the absolute punctuality and reliability of railways.

Suppose, within a month:
10% of trains or more are late,
– that the delay is more than 15 minutes,
– or that the train is canceled.

In this case the user is entitled to a compensation equal to “10% of the monthly subscription or to a twelfth 10% of the subscription annuale“.

Boom in traveler reports and complaints in the years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021)

Boom in traveler reports and complaints in the years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021)

Zacchaeus’ alarm comes after the difficult months of the pandemic, when all sorts of things happened. Transportation companies often canceled rides or flights because so many employees were affected by the virus. Often travelers, forced to stay at home after lockdown or in smart working, have asked for the reimbursement of season tickets, encountering resistance.

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