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.  Passenger rights under the legislation are applicable from 1st March 2013.  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.

Summary of Specific Passenger Rights Under EC Regulation 181 / 2011

Core Rights

The following core rights will be applicable to all regular services, irrespective of the scheduled distance of the service;

  • Non-discriminatory transport conditions
  • Access to transport for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility at no additional cost and financial compensation for the loss or damage of their mobility equipment
  • Minimum rules on travel information for all passengers before and during their journey as well as general information about their rights
  • A complaint handling mechanism by carriers available to all passengers
  • Independent National bodies in each Member State with the mandate to enforce the regulation and where appropriate to impose penalties

Additional Rights

In addition the following rights are applicable to regular services where the scheduled distance is 250km or more;

  • Provision of tickets/electronic tickets or any other documents giving entitlement to transport
  • Compensation and assistance in case of death, injury, loss or damage caused by accidents
  • Information when the service is cancelled or delayed in departure
  • Right of reimbursement of the full ticket price or re-routing in case of cancellation or long delay
  • Adequate assistance in case of cancellation or long delay (only applicable when the scheduled duration of the journey is more than three hours and you journey is cancelled or delayed in departure from a bus terminal for more than 90 minutes
  • Compensation up to 50% of the ticket price if the carrier failed to offer the passenger the choice between reimbursement of the ticket or rerouting in case of cancellation or long delay
  • Specific assistance at no additional cost for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility both at bus terminals and on board

Designated Terminals

Under the requirement to designate terminals where assistance will be provided for disabled  persons and persons with reduced mobility (article 12 of EU Regulation 181 / 2011)  Ireland has designated the following terminals;

  • Busarus Dublin 2,
  • Cork Bus Station, Parnell Place Co. Cork,
  • Sligo Station Lord Edward Street Co. Sligo,
  • Galway coach station Fairgreen Road, Galway city

Overview of the rights of passengers travelling by bus and coach transport

Non Discrimination

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

You have the same rights to travel as other passengers and you should be able to travel without difficulties and at no extra cost.  Carriers, travel agents and tour operators can only refuse to sell you a ticket or take you on board if it’s physically impossible given the design of the vehicle, the bus stop or the terminal building or doing so would breach health and safety requirements.

For long distance regular services of more than 250km, carriers and bus terminal managers must provide you with assistance free of charge at the designated bus terminals and on board coaches and buses.  Alternatively they can accept a person accompanying you on board for free.

If you need assistance you will also need to notify them at least 36 hours before your intended journey.

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

You must receive adequate information about your service and your passenger rights.  The bus and coach companies and terminal managing bodies are required to inform you about your passenger rights before departure.

Assistance in Case of Delay or Cancellation

The following rules apply to long distance regular services of more than 250km only.  If your service is delayed or cancelled you must be informed about the situation and the estimated departure and arrival times immediately this information comes to hand/is available. For services where the scheduled duration is more than three hours and it is cancelled or delayed in departure from a bus terminal for longer than 90 minutes, you will be offered, free of charge meals, refreshments (if they can reasonably be supplied) and under certain conditions, accommodation.

Re-Routing or Reimbursement in Case of Delay, Cancellation or Overbooking

For long distance regular services of more than 250km, if you service is overbooked and you are denied boarding, or the carrier expects either a delay of more than two hours, or cancellation of the service occurs, passengers have the right to choose between;

  • Re-routing to the final destination, at no additional costs, at the earliest opportunity under comparable conditions, and
  • Reimbursement of the full ticket price, combined where relevant with a free of charge return service at the earliest opportunity to the first point of departure set out in the transport contract

You can also agree with the carrier to rebook your trip at a convenient later date, under comparable transport conditions.

If a bus or coach breaks down during the journey, the carrier must send another bus/coach on which you can continue your journey.

Compensation in Case of Delay, Cancellation or Overbooking

For long distance regular services of more than 250km, you are entitled to compensation amounting to 50% of the ticket price if your service was overbooked and you were denied boarding, or it was cancelled or delayed by more than 2 hours compared to the scheduled departure time and the carrier did not offer you the choice between re-routing or reimbursement.

Liability Towards the Passengers and their Luggage

The following rules apply to long distance regular services of more than 250km.  Carriers can be held liable to pay compensation for the injury of death of passengers and the damage or loss of their luggage resulting from accidents.

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

Right to submit a complaint to the Carrier and National Enforcement Body.

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

  • In the first instance passengers should direct their complaint to the relevant carrier or terminal operator.  Complaints need be submitted to the carrier or terminal operator within 3 months of the date on which the service was performed or should have been performed.
  • 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. 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.

Appeals can be sent to;

National Transport Authority

Coach and Bus Passenger Rights

Dún Scéine

Harcourt Lane

Dublin 2

D02 WT20

Tel: 01 – 8798397

Or fill in the form here – Passenger Rights Complaint Form


NTA- Privacy Notice for Passengers’ Rights

Remember to provide copies of any relevant documentation and correspondence.

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.

For more Information:

Link to regulation 181 / 2011 –  181/2011

Link to summary of EU Regulation

List of National Enforcement bodies

New Passenger Rights Application

The EU has launched an application for smartphones which covers passenger rights across all modes (Air, Rail, Sea and Bus/Coach), see link below

National Enforcement Body Reports

National Enforcement Body Report 2017

National Enforcement Body Report 2015