European Parliament officials have voted in favour of new regulations governing the rights of passengers travelling by bus and coach.
Bus and coach passengers, particularly passengers with a disability, will now enjoy new rights protecting them when they travel anywhere within the European Union.
Under the new regulations operates must reimburse or reroute passengers if a coach is overbooked, cancelled or delayed by 90 minutes or more, or, in certain cases, provide two nights’ hotel accommodation to stranded passengers.
Compensation of 50 per cent of a ticket price, along with a full refund, can be demanded if the carrier fails to offer the passenger either rerouting or reimbursement following a delay of more than 120 minutes.
Siim Kallas, commission vice-president in charge of transport, said: “Passengers travelling by road will benefit from the same basic service quality standards wherever and however they travel in the Union.
“With the adoption of a regulation on rights for bus and coach passengers EU passenger protection will now cover all modes.”
Regulations also now stipulate each passenger must be offered protection of €220,000 or more in the event of a fatal accident.
However, while welcoming the legislation, John Gilbert, president of Eurolines, called on destination cities to play their part.
“Eurolines continues to provide high standards of customer care and we are pleased that the agreement in the European Parliament reflects the concerns we have raised to make the legislation workable,” he explained.
“However, the European Union could do more to improve the passenger experience.
International coach passengers still face problems because local and transport authorities in many major European cities do not provide access to bus terminals.”
After air, rail and water, now transport by road will also be covered by a specific set of rights for passengers, thus completing the legal framework for users of all transport modes at EU level.
The adoption of the regulation on bus and coach passenger rights follows shortly after the adoption of regulation 1177/2010 on passenger rights for maritime and inland waterways transport which will enter into force in December 2012.