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EU Passenger Rights When Travelling by Bus / Coach

The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament through regulation 181/2011, created rights for passengers when travelling by Bus and Coach.  The regulation provides a range of measures to protect bus/coach passengers and their belongings.

These rights apply as long as your journey begins or ends within the European Union, you are travelling on a regular service and you are set to travel along specified routes with pre-determined stops at specified intervals.

Assistance in Case of Delay or Cancellation

Note: These rules only apply to regular services of more than 250km.

(a) If your service is delayed or cancelled you must be informed about the situation, and the estimated departure and arrival times as soon they are available.

(b) Where possible, passengers must be offered snacks, meals or refreshments, in proportion to the waiting time and free of charge, if there is a delay of more than 90 minutes or cancellation of a service.

(c) If your service is more than 250km and you are denied boarding due to overbooking, or the carrier expects a cancellation or a delay of more than two hours, passengers have the right to choose between:

  • A refund of your ticket, and if applicable, a free return journey back to your original departure point;

OR

  • Re-routing, under similar conditions, to your final destination at the earliest opportunity at no extra cost.

(d) 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.

Non Discrimination

(a) You are protected against discrimination based on your nationality; place of residence or disability when you buy a ticket or during travel.

Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility

(a) You have the same rights to travel as other passengers and should be able to travel without difficulty, and at no extra cost. You may only be refused a ticket or to board if it is physically impossible due to the design of the vehicle, bus stop or terminal building, or if doing so would breach health and safety requirements.

(b) If your scheduled journey distance is more than 250km, then carriers and bus terminal managers must provide you with assistance free of charge at the designated bus terminals and on board the bus/coach. Alternatively, they can accept a person accompanying you on board for free.

(c) If you require assistance, you must notify them at least 36 hours before your journey.

(d) If your mobility equipment is lost or damaged due to the fault of the carrier or terminal manager, you must receive full compensation.

Information Rights

(a) You must receive adequate information about your service and your passenger rights.

(b) The bus and coach companies and terminal managing bodies are required to inform you about your passenger rights before departure.

Liability for the Passengers and their Luggage

Note: These rules only apply to regular services of more than 250km.

(a) Carriers can be held liable to pay compensation for the injury or death of passengers, and the damage or loss of their luggage resulting from accidents.

(b) Carriers will also provide assistance to cover the passengers’ immediate practical needs following an accident.

What should passengers do if they feel their rights under Regulation 181/2011 have been infringed?

(a) Passengers should first direct their complaint to the relevant carrier or terminal operator within 3 months from the date the service was performed or when it should have been performed.

(b) The carrier/terminal operator must respond to the passenger within 1 month to inform them whether the complaint has been upheld, rejected or remains under investigation.

(c) A final reply must issue within 3 months of the date of receipt of the passenger’s complaint.

If a passenger is dissatisfied with the reply received from the carrier or terminal operator and the complaint is not resolved, the passenger may appeal to the National Transport Authority, which is the designated enforcement body for Regulation 181/2011 in Ireland.

Passenger Rights Complaint Form

To ensure efficient consideration of complaints referred to the NTA, it is advisable to complete the online complaint form, attaching a copy of all correspondence between you and the operator.

You should keep the originals of all correspondence forwarded.

We will carry out an independent investigation into the circumstances of the complaint and make recommendations on how to best resolve your complaint, and if appropriate, measures will be put in place to prevent a similar occurrence/re-occurrence.

Following this you will receive a final response in writing, which should be within 1 month of your complaint being received.  If we require more time we will let you know why and when to expect our final reply.

Useful Links

Your Europe – Bus and Coach Passenger Rights