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Last checked: 15/04/2020

Bus and coach passenger rights

Passenger rights and coronavirus

EU rules on bus and coach rights apply if your journey starts or finishes in an EU country, and mainly apply to regular long-distance bus and coach services. These rights apply if you are travelling with regular services that operate along specified routes where passengers are picked up and set down at predefined stopping points according to a set timetable. Long-distance means that the scheduled distance of the service, not your individual trip, is 250 km or more.

EU countries can decide to exempt some purely domestic regular services and services where a large part of the route – including a scheduled stop – is outside the EU. Check before you buy your ticket.

Throughout your journey, the bus or coach operator has to provide clear and correct information about the service and your passenger rights. This information should also be made available in a format accessible for people with disabilities.

What went wrong?

How to claim your rights?

If you think your rights have not been respected, you should make a complaint to the bus or coach company within 3 months of the scheduled service during which the problem occurred.  The bus or coach company must react within 1 month and give you a final reply 3 months after receiving your complaint. If you are not satisfied with the reply, you can lodge a complaint with the relevant national authority in your country.  The national authority should provide you with a non-binding legal opinion on how to proceed with your claim.

You can also try to resolve your dispute using out-of-court procedures or an Alternative Dispute Resolution entity (ADR).  If you bought your ticket online, you can submit your complaint via the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform. ADR and ODR are only available to EU residents.

You may wish to resort to formal legal action and submit a claim for compensation under EU rules using the European Small Claims procedure. You may also bring the matter before the courts in the country where the bus or coach company is registered. The time limits for bringing an action against a bus or coach company in a national court are defined in accordance with national rules on the limitation of actions in each EU country.

You can also consult your local European Consumer Centre for help and advice on problems related to bus or coach passenger rights.

Your bus or coach service was cancelled

If the scheduled bus or coach service you're booked on is delayed or cancelled, the bus / coach operator or the terminal operator has to inform you of the situation as soon as possible - and no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time. In case of a delay, you should be informed of the estimated departure time as soon as this information is available.

If your long distance (250 km or more) coach or bus service is cancelled due to overbooking or for operational reasons, the company must offer you a choice between:

If your long-distance (250 km or more) coach or bus service is cancelled and the duration of the journey was scheduled to last more than 3 hours, you are also entitled to:

If your bus or coach service was cancelled due to severe weather conditions or a natural disaster, the service provider does not have to cover accommodation costs.

Your bus or coach service was delayed at departure

If the scheduled bus or coach service you're booked on is delayed or cancelled, the bus / coach operator or the terminal operator has to inform you of the situation as soon as possible - and no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time. In case of a delay, you should be informed of the estimated departure time as soon as this information is available.

If your long-distance (250 km or more) coach or bus service is delayed at departure for more than 2 hours, the bus company must offer you a choice between:

If the operator of the service does not offer you these options when the delay occurs, you can submit a complaint at a later stage, and claim a refund for your ticket as well as compensation equal to 50% of the ticket price.

If your long-distance (250 km or more) coach or bus service was scheduled to last more than 3 hours and the departure is delayed by more than 90 minutes, in addition to the above, you are also entitled to:

If the delay was caused by severe weather conditions or a natural disaster, the service provider does not have to cover accommodation costs.

Your luggage was lost or damaged in an accident

If your luggage or other personal belongings are lost or damaged because of a bus or coach accident on a long distance journey (250 km or more) you have a right to compensation. The exact amount of compensation is set by national rules, but the maximum limit should not be less than €1,200 per item of luggage.

If your wheelchair or other mobility aid is damaged or lost, you are entitled to compensation to cover the cost of replacing or repairing it.

You were injured in a bus or coach accident

If you are injured in a bus or coach accident during a long distance journey (250 km or more), you are entitled to compensation. The exact amount of compensation is set by national rules (the maximum limit should not be less than €220,000 per passenger).

The bus or coach operator must also help provide first aid, for example by calling an ambulance, and provide for any other immediate practical needs you may have, including food, clothes and, if necessary, accommodation.

You are a dependant of a victim of a fatal bus or coach accident

If you are a dependant of a victim of a fatal bus or coach accident, you have the right to compensation, including funeral expenses. The exact amount of compensation is set by national rules (the maximum limit should not be less than €220,000 per passenger).

FAQs

EU legislation

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