Travelling by bus or coach
Following the consumer protection standard set by regulations concerning sea, rail and air transport, Europe has been regulating since 2013 the passengers’ rights travelling by bus or coach.
Update: Oct. 2017
Delay or cancellation
- The distance is more than 250 km
- And if the travel starts or finishes in an EU Member State.
For a distance of less than 250 km, only the provisions concerning disabled passengers or passengers with reduced mobility and general information obligations are applicable.
The passenger has to immediately be offered the choice between:
- Continuation or rerouting to the final destination at no additional cost and under comparable conditions
- Reimbursement of the ticket price and, if relevant, a return by bus or coach free of charge to the first point of departure
If the carrier fails to reroute or offer continuation, the passenger has a right to compensation amounting to 50% of the ticket price, in addition to the ticket refund. On the contrary, passengers who are transported to the final destination would only be entitled to the compensation.
The carrier has to offer the passenger assistance free of charge:
- Snacks, meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time
- Accommodation if necessary. Its total cost can be limited to 80€ per night for a maximum of 2 nights. In case of extreme weather conditions or extraordinary circumstances that could not have been avoided, the accommodation is not offered
- Passengers are entitled to compensation for death or personal injury as well as loss or damage of luggage due to a bus or coach accident
- Access, information and assistance rights for people with disabilities and with reduced mobility
- Right to be informed about the travel and about passengers’ rights
- Carriers have to have in place a complaint handling mechanism
- Member States have to designate enforcement bodies that monitor the application of the regulation
Attention, the European regulation doesn’t provide for carrier’s luggage responsibility except for accidents. General provisions of national law apply.
- Before the departure, don’t forget to take a photo of what’s inside your luggage
- Don’t put valuable things in the hold luggage
- Look out for your luggage during stopovers
- In case of theft, make a complaint at a police office and send it to the carrier with invoices of your lost property
- Verify the information about the places of departure and arrival. Some bus or coach stops can be situated outside of bus stations.
- Choose your travel schedule wisely if you have any time constraints (airplane departure, an important meeting) because in case of traffic congestion you don’t have right to compensation.
- If you pass through national borders, don’t forget your passport or identity card (check their validity beforehand). Drivers don’t control them systematically but the coach can be stopped for inspection by national authorities.
- Minors have to travel with their documents as well, exit permit might be necessary if they travel alone. Be sure to check what documents can be required.
- Your journey can include one or a few connections. Check your tickets and ask the driver for help if you need more information.
- During stopovers, don’t miss the departure. Drivers are not required to check the presence of their passengers.