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What are my rights if my train or bus in Sweden is delayed?

The Local Sweden
The Local Sweden - [email protected]
What are my rights if my train or bus in Sweden is delayed?
Buses and trains were delayed or cancelled in many parts of Sweden on Thursday due to extreme cold weather and blizzards. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Extreme cold in the north and blizzards in the south were causing havoc in Sweden on Thursday, with trains and buses cancelled in many areas. What are your rights if your service is delayed or cancelled?

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Can I get a refund if my train is cancelled or delayed?

Yes, although it may only be a partial refund. You may be able to cancel or rebook a ticket you’ve already purchased before you travel directly from the train company, but some companies require you to apply for a refund after the affected service was due to depart.

Check the company you were due to travel with for details.

In this case, or if you want a refund or compensation for a delay on a journey you've already taken, the rules for how much you can get back vary depending on the length of the delay, as well as the length in kilometres of the entire route of the train, not just the stretch you were travelling on.

For routes of 150 kilometres or more, you're entitled to a 25 percent refund after a 60 minute delay and a 50 percent refund after 120 minutes. For journeys on shorter routes, see “other public transport” below.

You can apply for compensation and read more about your rights for example on SJ's website here, on Skånetrafiken's website here and on Vy's website here.

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Other public transport 

The rules for delayed buses, trams or underground trains, as well as trains on shorter routes, are slightly better for the traveller than the rules on longer routes.

For routes under 150 kilometres, you're entitled to a 50 percent refund after 20 minutes, a 75 percent refund after 40 minutes and a 100 percent refund after 60 minutes.

After 60 minutes, you can also choose to continue your journey or be rebooked onto the next service as soon as possible (this may be with another form of transport, like a rail replacement bus), or rebook for no charge to a later date. If you choose one of these options you waive your right to have your ticket refunded.

If you have a ticket for a specific time period, like a monthly pass, you can usually get compensation for this too. In this case, you’ll need to contact the travel company, ask them how much the journey would have cost on a standard ticket, and apply for compensation as if you'd bought a single ticket.

If you have to sort out your own alternative travel – driving or taking a taxi, for example – due to a cancelled or delayed service, you can also apply for compensation, but you need to show that you tried to keep costs down as much as possible and can receive a maximum of 1,432 kronor.

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For bus journeys on routes longer than 150 kilometres, the rules are slightly different. If your journey is delayed more than 120 minutes or cancelled entirely, then the company should offer you the option to complete your journey on the delayed service, rebook onto a similar journey at no extra cost, or cancel the journey entirely and have your ticket refunded, refunding you within 14 days. If they don’t do this, you have the right to have your ticket refunded as well as receiving compensation worth 50 percent of the ticket price.

If you already knew about a delay or cancellation to a particular service before you bought a ticket, whether that’s for a train, bus or other type of public transport, you don’t have any right to compensation.

What can I do if my train is cancelled and there's no replacement bus?

If you're left with no other way of getting to your destination – if your train is cancelled and there are no replacement bus services in place, for example – you should be able to either choose a refund or rebook your ticket to a different departure free of charge.

If that's not possible, your train company should help you get to your destination in some other way, either by organising transport by some other means or by covering accommodation costs if you’re left stranded with nowhere to stay. Usually this also covers reimbursement for a taxi or for using your own car.

The rules vary depending on the train company, but SJ offers a reimbursement of up to 3,000 kronor which can be used on another means of transportation or for accommodation, and Vy states on its website that customer service can help you reach your destination by booking alternative travel. Keep any receipts and contact customer service at the relevant train company who should be able to help you.

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What if I can’t get to work or miss an event?

You can get compensation for your travel under the rules above if your train, bus or similar was delayed or cancelled, but unfortunately you’re not allowed to claim compensation for lost income or for any event tickets, flights, non-refundable hotel bookings or similar if you weren’t able to get wherever you were meant to be in time.

Of course, if you bought travel insurance before your trip, this kind of thing might be covered, in which case it’s worth checking with your insurance company to see what’s included.

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