Eurolines demands Member States follow through on passenger rights commitments and calls on the European Commission to take action to ensure coach passengers benefit fully from the new proposals, including identifying key coach terminals across the 28 member bloc.
July 2013 - On March 1st this year, Regulation 181/2011 entered into force in the European Union, strengthening passenger rights’ rules for all citizens’ travelling by bus and coach. Under this Regulation, passengers are guaranteed better transport conditions in the case of delay, cancellation or accidents, as well as non-discriminatory assistance for passengers with reduced mobility.
Eurolines, a European leader in long-distance coach travel, is strongly supporting these new standards and believes that they are instrumental in improving the passenger experience as well as assuring that operators in the bus and coach sector comply with the appropriate rules.
"However, I regret that this strong commitment has not been upheld by national decision-makers and that my enthusiasm has increasingly turned into concern. More than two years after the EU formally approved the new passenger rights rules, all but a few Member States have made little to no progress in implementing the Regulation and remain non-compliant with the required standards," John Gilbert, Eurolines President said. “Although March 1st should have been a joyous occasion and a great stride for Europe’s bus and coach passengers, as well as for our sector, we are now concerned that the new rules risk evaporating into a set of unfulfilled promises.”
“We call on Member States to without further delay commence the work of designating appropriate terminals for travellers with reduced mobility, as requested in the Regulation. Appropriate terminal infrastructure is fundamental for enabling satisfactory transport accessibility for coach travellers and for achieving the European Commission’s goal of improved intermodal transport in Europe, but regrettably national and local authorities have not made this the priority it needs to be.”
Eurolines believes that the European Commission could do more to encourage Member States to fully implement the Regulation and devote sufficient resources to enforce the new rules, and that exemptions should only be for exceptional circumstances. Every day that Member States delay the implementation of the new Regulation is a day of lessened credibility for European passenger legislation.
Eurolines is also one of the driving forces in the Public-Private EU Smart Move High level Group, which brings together representatives of the EU institutions, operators, representative associations and other mobility and civil society stakeholders working for inter alia improving passenger rights in the sector. The High Level Group issued a Joint Communication on this and much more on 15 May, which Eurolines welcomes as a strong foundation for continuing the stakeholder dialogue on coach passenger rights.