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Common rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services

The freedom to provide services is a basic principle of the common transport policy and requires that carriers from all European Union (EU) countries have access to international transport markets without discrimination on grounds of nationality or place of establishment. This regulation establishes the conditions for the international carriage of passengers by coach and bus within the EU by carriers for hire or reward.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 on common rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services.

SUMMARY

This regulation incorporates Regulations Nos 684/92 and 12/98 into one single regulation to clarify and simplify the rules for the international carriage of passengers by road within the territory of the European Union (EU) and the conditions under which non-resident carriers may operate national transport services within an EU country.

Freedom to provide services

A carrier is permitted to carry out regular international carriage services, including special regular services * and occasional services * by coach and bus, without discrimination on grounds of nationality or place of establishment if he:

  • is authorised in the EU country of establishment to undertake carriage by means of regular services in accordance with the market access conditions in national law;
  • fulfils the conditions within the EU rules on admission to the occupation of road passenger transport operator in national and international transport operations;
  • meets the legal requirements relating to EU standards for drivers and vehicles.

Community licence

International carriage of passengers by coach and bus is subject to a Community licence issued by the competent authorities of the EU country of establishment. The licence is issued in the name of the carrier for a renewable period of up to 10 years and is non-transferable. EU countries may also decide that the Community licence is valid for national transport operations.

Regular services subject to authorisation

The authorisations are issued in the name of the carrier for a period of up to five years and are non-transferable. However, an authorised carrier, with the consent of the competent authority of the EU country where the point of departure is located, may operate the service through a subcontractor. Authorisations are issued in agreement with the competent authorities of all the EU countries in whose territories passengers are picked up or set down. They must specify the type of service, the route, the stops and timetable, and the period of validity, and entitle their holder to operate regular services in the territories of all EU countries over which the routes of the service pass.

Authorisation, including for renewal and alteration of authorisation, will be granted unless:

  • the applicant cannot provide the necessary services with equipment directly available to him;
  • the applicant has not complied with national or international road transport legislation;
  • the conditions of authorisation have not been complied with in the case of an application for renewal;
  • an EU country decides that the service concerned would seriously affect the viability of a comparable service covered by one or more public service contracts;
  • an EU country decides that the principal purpose of the service is not the carriage of passengers between different EU countries.

Except in the case of force majeure, the operator of a regular service must take all measures to guarantee a transport service that fulfils the standards of continuity, regularity and capacity and complies with the conditions laid down by the competent authority.

Cabotage

Cabotage operations are authorised for the following services:

  • national road passenger services carried out on a temporary basis by a carrier in a host EU country;
  • the picking up and setting down of passengers within the same EU country in the course of a regular international service provided that cabotage is not the principle purpose of the service.

Controls and penalties

Carriers operating a regular service must issue either individual or collective transport tickets indicating the points of departure and arrival, the period of validity of the ticket, and the fare of transport.

In the event of a serious infringement of EU road transport legislation, the competent authorities of the EU country of establishment of the carrier concerned must take appropriate action, which may include a warning or the imposition of administrative penalties. If a non-resident carrier seriously infringes EU road transport legislation, the EU country in which the infringement is ascertained will send the competent authorities of the carrier’s EU country of establishment a description of the infringement, the category, type and seriousness of the infringement, and the penalties imposed. All serious infringements must be recorded in the national electronic register of road transport undertakings.

Key terms used in the act
  • Special regular services: regular services, by whomsoever organised, which provide for the carriage of specified categories of passengers to the exclusion of other passengers.
  • Occasional services: services which do not fall within the definition of regular services, including special regular services, and the main characteristic of which is the carriage of groups of passengers constituted on the initiative of the customer or the carrier himself.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation No 1073/2009

4.12.2009

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OJ L 300 of 14.11.2009

Last updated: 22.12.2010
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