Brussels, 16 July 2012 -The 15-member strong EU public-private Smart Move High Level Group (HLG), composed of representatives of the EU institutions, operators, representative associations and other mobility and civil society stakeholders, met to review how to significantly boost intercity regular lines by bus and coach in the European Union.
The meeting focused on how this objective could be achieved through legislation, taxation, infrastructure, modern communication tools while considering city related challenges affecting intercity and international regular lines by bus and coach. Specific emphasis was placed on users' needs and the necessity to provide more and affordable mobility opportunities to European citizens and alternatives to car drivers.
President of Eurolines and member of the Smart Move HLG, John Gilbert, said: "As one of the leading European mobility service providers, I am pleased that customers’ needs formed the focus of the group’s debate. The High Level Group is an excellent opportunity to bring together diverse interest groups, including passenger representatives, operators, disabled peoples’ representatives, and European Institutions, to engage in in-depth discussions on long distance coach services and find ways of doubling their use and propose concrete steps for legislative change. My thanks to the IRU for having initiated this High Level Group.”
The High Level Group concretely identified three key areas that need to be addressed if more people are to be attracted to use long distance coach services. These are lack of, and access by bus and coach operators to terminals, bus priority measures such as dedicated bus lanes, and information technology systems.
Secretary General of the Swedish Bus and Coach Federation and member of the Smart Move HLG, Anna Grönlund, said: “Our experience in Sweden shows that doubling the use of bus and coach is a realistic objective.”
The next Smart Move HLG meeting will take place on 27 September 2012, and focus on the topic of group tourism by coach. All interested public and private stakeholders and citizens are invited to make comments and submit proposals to the High Level Group on the three main topics to be discussed by making use of the dedicated facility on the HLG webpage.
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