Bus passenger rights
Every year in the European Union, approximately 70 million passengers travel by bus, so the EU has decided to provide similar rights to bus transportation passengers to the rights enjoyed by air, railway, and ship traffic passengers. Therefore, as of 1 March 2013, Regulation (EU) no. 181/2011 entered into force, which stipulates the minimum rights of passengers who use bus transportation when travelling in the EU.
The Regulation generally applies to "regular services" carried out in particular time intervals on particular routes and passengers embark and disembark at previously specified stations for unspecified passenger categories, provided that the embarkation or disembarkation point is in the territory of a member state. As an exception, certain rights arising from the Regulation also apply to "occasional services" when passenger groups are formed on the initiative of the customer or the carrier, provided that the starting passenger embarkation point or the final passenger disembarkation point is in the territory of a member state.
Passengers travelling by bus in the European Union shall have the following basic rights for all regular services:
Prohibition of discrimination
Upon purchasing a ticket for bus passenger transport, all passengers shall have the right to direct or indirect non-discrimination based on the nationality or the registered office of the carrier or the ticket vendor in the EU. This means that carriers shall not charge passengers a higher price when they purchase a bus ticket based on the passengers' nationality or the country where they bought their ticket.
Cancellation or delay
If a bus is experiencing a delay or if a journey has been cancelled, passengers shall have the right to receive suitable information in a timely manner.
If a lengthy journey (more than 250 km) for which passengers purchase a ticket is cancelled or is experiencing a delay lasting over two hours, passengers shall have a choice:
• a refund of the ticket price and, if necessary, free transportation back to their original starting point of the journey (e.g. if passengers are unable to fulfill the purpose of their journey due to the delay),
• transportation under similar conditions to the planned destination of their journey, at the first opportunity and without additional costs.
If a carrier fails to offer passengers these options, they may file a complaint and demand a refund of the ticket price as well as compensation in the amount of 50% of the ticket price.
If a lengthy journey (more than 250 km) is scheduled to last more than three hours, but the bus is experiencing a delay of more than 90 minutes at the point of departure or if the journey has been cancelled, passengers shall also be entitled to:
• food and beverages (depending on the waiting time),
• accommodation if passengers must spend the night (a maximum of two nights in the amount of a maximum of €80 per night). However, passengers shall not be entitled to accommodation if the delay is the result of extreme weather conditions or natural disasters.
Accidents – compensations for damage and assistance
If passengers experience a bus accident on a lengthy journey (more than 250 km) and they get injured, they shall be entitled to compensation. In the event of the death of a passenger, beneficiaries shall be entitled to compensation.
Passengers may also demand compensation from the bus carrier regarding luggage or other items that have been damaged or lost in a bus accident during a long journey. If necessary, a carrier may also provide immediate assistance: first aid, food, clothing, transportation, and accommodation.
In the event of a violation of passenger rights, passengers may file a complaint to the bus carrier within three months after the event. The carrier shall respond to the complaint within one month and provide the final answer to passengers within three months after receiving the complaint. If passengers are unhappy with the answer, the may turn to the competent national authority, i.e. Ministry of Infrastructure, Langusova ulica 4 1000 Ljubljana, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.