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Strasbourg, 15 February 2011

Commission welcomes European Parliament approval for bus and coach passenger rights

The European Commission welcomes the European Parliament voting today in favour of a regulation on rights of passengers travelling by bus and coach after difficult negotiations. 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. Bus and coach passengers, and in particular passengers with a disability and people with a reduced mobility, will enjoy new rights that will protect them when they travel anywhere within the European Union.

Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President in charge of transport, said: "Thanks to this new regulation, passenger rights will be extended also to bus and coach transport. 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. I am very satisfied that the EU has established the first integrated area of passenger rights for all modes of transport in the world."

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.

Now that the coverage of all transport modes by EU passenger rights legislation has been achieved, the Commission will prepare a communication reviewing the features of passenger protection in all transport sectors in view of enhancing their consistency and effectiveness in the context of an ever-increasing intermodal transport.

The new rights applicable to long distance services (i.e. of more than 250 km) include amongst others:

  • protection of passengers in case of death, injury, loss or damage caused by road accidents (national law cannot set a maximum amount lower than €220,000 per passenger and €1,200 per item of luggage),

  • protection of passengers with regard to immediate practical needs in case of an accident (with the possibility to offer up to two nights' hotel accommodation, for a total amount of €80 per night),

  • specific assistance free of charge for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility both at terminals and on board, and, where necessary, transport free of charge for accompanying people,

  • guarantee of reimbursement or rerouting in situations of overbooking or in case of cancellation or following a delay of more than 120 minutes from the estimated time of departure,

  • adequate assistance (snacks, meals and refreshments) in situations of cancellation or following a delay of more than 90 minutes in the case of a journey of more than three hours,

  • more particularly, obligation in those cases, for carriers, if necessary, to provide two nights' hotel accommodation to stranded passengers, for a maximum amount of €80 per night, except in case of severe weather conditions and major natural disasters,

  • compensation of 50% of the ticket price following more than 120 minutes' delay from the estimated time of departure, cancellation of a journey and if the carrier fails to offer the passenger either rerouting or reimbursement.

Additionally, the following rights will be applicable to all services (beyond or below 250 km):

  • non-discrimination against passengers based - directly or indirectly - on nationality,

  • non-discriminatory treatment of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility as well financial compensation for loss or damage of their mobility equipment in case of accident,

  • minimum rules on travel information for all passengers before and during their journey as well as general information about their rights in terminals and online,

  • a complaint handling mechanisms by carriers available to all passengers,

  • independent national bodies in each Member State with the mandate to enforce the Regulation and where appropriate to take penalties.

Next steps

After today's vote in the European Parliament and Council's endorsement on 31 January 2011, the regulation will be formally adopted tomorrow. Its publication is expected before summer. The Regulation is due to enter into application two years after its publication.

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