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Package deal on bus passenger rights disappointing

Date

16 Feb 2011

Sections

Health & Consumers
Transport

The European Parliament today backed a compromise creating a European set of rights for bus passengers. However, whilst a step in the right direction, the regulation is limited in scope and leaves many travellers out in the cold. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) that had pushed for a truly EU-wide package of bus passenger rights withheld their support from the EPP-S&D deal.

Gesine Meissner MEP (FDP, DE) ALDE Coordinator on the Transport Committee and spoke person for the report said: “You cannot use a distance of 250 km as basis for EU-wide legislation. To start with, three Member States – Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus - are excluded and it is questionable whether there are domestic lines of such length in all of the remaining Member States.

"We not only insisted on more rights for passengers when travelling shorter distances nationally but also on cross-border services which now fall under the same rules. In practice, this means that bus passengers travelling Vienna-Budapest or Luxembourg-Strasbourg would not be protected by this legislation”.

ALDE also opposed the "force majeure" clause limiting the obligation of carriers to provide accommodation for passengers in case of cancellations or delays if these are caused by severe weather conditions or major natural disasters. This sets a worrying precedent for the upcoming revision of the air passenger rights regulation.

However, the ALDE abstention will not block the adoption of the regulation which will provide rights – albeit limited – for bus passengers.

"We secured non-discriminatory access conditions, disability-related training for the staff of carriers and terminal authorities. In addition, disabled persons or people with reduced mobility travelling long-distance will be assisted at terminals and aboard and in certain cases may request to be accompanied by a person of his or her choosing free of charge. Keeping that in mind we are not voting against the agreement”. she concluded.

Note to editors:
Today’s third - and final - plenary vote confirms the outcome of the Conciliation negotiations when agreement was reached with the votes of the EPP and S&D delegations.

This is the last transport mode to be covered by EU passenger rights legislation which will allow the drafting of a harmonised set of rights for all passengers, regardless of their means of transport.

The aim of the regulation is to establish EU-wide rights for bus and coach passengers comparable to those in other modes of transport and to secure a level playing field for carriers from different Member States. The regulation shall apply to all regular services, national and cross-border, where scheduled distance is equal to, or longer than, 250 km. Passengers travelling only a part of such a long-distance service are also covered. In addition, some basic rights of the regulation will apply to passengers travelling over shorter scheduled distances.

For more information, please contact / Pour de plus amples informations, veuillez contacter:
Corlett Neil - Tel:+32 2 284 20 77 Mob:+32 478 78 22 84
Terzi Federica - Tel:+32 2 283 23 24 Mob:+32 494 18 88 31    
Web: http://www.alde.eu

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