70 million passengers travel by buses and coaches every year in the European Union. It is the third most used kind of transport after planes and trains.
A new regulation (EU No 181/2011) on bus and coach passenger rights became applicable since 1st March 2013.
These new rights include:
- Non-discrimination based on nationality regarding tariffs and other contract conditions;
- non-discriminatory treatment for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility. Specifically, free-of-charge assistance both at designated bus terminals and on board buses and coaches, as well as financial compensation for loss of or damage to their mobility equipment;
- adequate and accessible information for all passengers before and during their journey, as well as general information in bus terminals and on the internet about their rights;
- reimbursement of the full ticket price or rerouting in case of overbooking, cancellation or delay of more than 2 hours from the estimated time of departure (only applicable for journeys of more than 250 km distance);
- compensation of 50% of the ticket price in addition to the reimbursement of the full price in case of overbooking, cancellation or a delay of more than 2 hours from the estimated time of departure, when the bus and coach company fails to offer the passenger the right to choose between reimbursement and rerouting (only applicable for journeys of more than 250 km distance);
- adequate assistance (snacks, meals, refreshments, as well as, if necessary, accommodation) in case of cancellation or delay of more than 90 minutes for journeys longer than 3 hours (only applicable for journeys of more than 250 km distance);
- compensation for death, injury, loss or damage to luggage caused by road accidents;
- a complaint handling mechanism established by the bus and coach companies and available to all passengers;
- setting-up of independent bodies in each EU Member State with the mandate to enforce the regulation and, where appropriate, to impose penalties.