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Bus and coach passengers' rights. Final green light in the interest of passengers and SMEs. Antonio Cancian MEP

Date

15 Feb 2011

Sections

Health & Consumers
Transport

"With this Regulation, the 70 million European bus and coach passengers will have new rights which were almost non-existent when compared to other transport sectors such as airline, rail and sea. I am highly satisfied with the approval of this text, after two years of negotiations, because it strengthens the rights of passengers also taking into account the peculiar reality of bus and coach companies that have reduced their size and financial resources due to the current difficult economic crisis. We will now have a modern legislation that protects those who travel by bus and which provides special protection for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility", said Antonio Cancian MEP, Rapporteur of the Regulation.

The European Parliament gave its final green light this morning to this Regulation on a text on which the Parliament and the Council reached agreement during a conciliation meeting at the end of 2010. This text enhances the rights of passengers in terms of reimbursement, assistance in case of accidents, cancellations, delays, better information, and assistance for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility.

The new legislation has been forseen in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, for bus and coach services of more than 250km, even if it does provide a number of basic rights for shorter distances (if less than 250km it provides twelve basic rights in particular for people with disabilities or reduced mobility). In the case of lost or damaged luggage, passengers must also be compensated. It also provides assistance in cases of delays or interruptions of travel as is already in place for trains and planes. In cases of delays or cancellations of more than two hours, passengers will be refunded or an alternative form of transport will be arranged.

"It is important to stress that this new legislation, which requires bus and coach companies to take responsibility towards their passengers, does not impose new technical requirements for buses or for infrastructure at the terminal. Companies will not bear heavy costs as we are conscious of the situation of small and medium-sized enterprises and we want to protect them from the risk of unsustainable financial burdens of compliance while striking a good balance between the rights of passengers and guarantees for SMEs", explained Antonio Cancian.

"We have established a special protection for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility by ensuring good travelling conditions especially in terms of access to transport, non-discrimination and training of staff and crew", said Antonio Cancian.

"With this legislation, the European Parliament has also pushed to include the protection of passengers' rights in the field of road transport. This is consistent with the future objective on the harmonisation of passengers' rights regardless of the mode of transport chosen. We have had a commitment by Commissioner Kallas on this issue", said Antonio Cancian.

The Regulation has already been approved by the Council and Member States will now have two years to implement it.

(Translation from the original Italian)

For further information:
Antonio CANCIAN MEP, Tel: +32-2-2845914
Francesco Frapiccini, EPP Group Press & Communications Service, Tel: +32-473-941652

Notes to Editors:
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 265 Members.

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