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Carriage of passengers: non-resident carriers in the national market


This Regulation aims to enable non-resident carriers to have the freedom to provide national passenger transport services within a Member State without discrimination on grounds of nationality or place of establishment.


Council Regulation (EC) No. 12/98, of 11 December 1997, laying down the conditions under which non-resident carriers may operate national road passenger transport services within a Member State [Official Journal L 4 of 08.01.1998].


This proposal for a Regulation is intended to replace Regulation (EEC) No 2454/92 of 23 July 1992, which was annulled by the Court of Justice by judgement of 1 June 1994 on the grounds that the Council had misunderstood Parliament's prerogatives.

This Regulation first and foremost defines the principle of cabotage.
It provides that any carrier who operates road passenger transport services for hire or reward, and who holds the Community licence provided for in Regulation (EEC) No. 684/92, is permitted, under the conditions laid down in the Regulation and without discrimination on grounds of the carrier's nationality or place of establishment, temporarily to operate national road passenger services for hire or reward in another Member State (host Member State), without being required to have a registered office or other establishment in that State.

Cabotage transport operations are authorised for the following services:

  • special regular services covered by a contract between the organiser and the carrier;
  • occasional services;
  • regular services performed in the course of an international regular service in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EEC) No 684/92;
  • regular services in the strict sense are excluded from cabotage operations.

The Regulation lays down the legal system applicable to cabotage transport operations as regards regular or occasional transport services where these services are operated by an undertaking not established in the host Member State in the course of a regular international service in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EEC) No 684/92.

The performance of cabotage transport operations is subject, in respect of all the services covered by the Regulation, to the provisions in force in the host Member State in the following areas:

  • rates and conditions governing the transport contract;
  • weights and dimensions of road vehicles;
  • requirements relating to the carriage of schoolchildren, children and persons with reduced mobility;
  • driving and rest time;
  • VAT on transport services.

Moreover, the performance of cabotage transport operations for the regular services covered by this Regulation is subject to additional requirements concerning authorisations, tendering procedures, the services to be operated, regularity, continuity, frequency and routes.

These provisions must be applied by the Member States to non-resident carriers under the same conditions as are applied to their own nationals so as to prevent any discrimination on the grounds of nationality or place of establishment.

The Community licence must be kept on board the vehicle and produced when requested by an authorised inspecting officer.

Cabotage transport operations in the form of occasional services must be carried out under cover of a control document (waybill) which must be kept on board the vehicle and produced when requested by an authorised inspecting officer. It must state:

  • the places of departure and destination of the service;
  • the dates of departure and termination of the service.

The Regulation requires the competent authority or agency in each Member State to send the Commission, every quarter, data concerning the cabotage transport operations carried out during that quarter by resident carriers.

Furthermore, once a year, the competent authorities of the host Member State must send the Commission statistics on the number of authorisations for cabotage operations carried out in the form of regular services.

The Commission is assisted by an Advisory Committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission. The Committee advises the Commission on the steps to be taken in the event of a serious disturbance of the market, as referred to in Article 9. It assists the Commission in drawing up the models of waybills, the book of waybills and the table of quarterly information on special regular services or occasional services.

The Regulation lays down the rules and procedure to be followed in the event of serious disturbance of the internal transport market in a given geographical area due to or aggravated by cabotage.

Sanctions and appeals are provided for in the event of an infringement of the provisions of the Regulation.

The Regulation provides that the Commission is to report to Parliament and the Council:

  • before 31 December 1999, on the application of the Regulation and, in particular, on the impact of cabotage transport operations on national transport markets.

The Regulation is applicable from 11.06.1999.


ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 12/989.1.199811.6.1999OJ L 4 of 8.1.1998

Regulation (EC) No 2121/98 - Official Journal L 268 of 03.10.1998
Commission Regulation of 2 October 1998 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulations (EEC) No 684/92 and (EC) No 12/98 as regards documents for the carriage of passengers by coach and bus.
This Regulation provides models for the control documents, journey forms, applications for authorisation and certificates introduced by the regulations on the international carriage of passengers by coach and bus and on the principles of road cabotage.
It repeals, with effect from 31 December 1999, Regulation (EEC) No 1839/92 (Official Journal L 187, 7.7.1992).

Last updated: 03.09.2007
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