Major transport and tourism organisations have called upon the EU Commission to support an ambitious proposal on specific driving and rest time rules for coach tourism.
Currently, coach tourism drivers are subject to the same rules regarding the organisation of their driving and rest time rules as truck drivers. However, the nature of their work is considerably different.
In a letter addressed to EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean, IRU, the European Travel Agents & Tour Operators in Europe Association, and the European Tourism Association have called upon the EU Commission to support an ambitious proposal to facilitate the recovery of coach tourism by introducing tailor-made rules for coach drivers.
Previous negotiations on the EU’s Mobility Package 1, where several specific derogations for coach tourism drivers were adopted by the European Parliament, resulted in a last-minute deal among legislators. The outcome focused mainly on goods transport, leaving the passenger sector with only an obligation for EU institutions to assess the situation at a later stage.
IRU EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian said, “The activity and daily organisation of coach tourism drivers differs significantly from other modes of road transport.
“It includes more breaks for passengers and stops along the way, as well as a combination of longer and shorter trips.”
“Targeted and specific driving and rest time provisions in coach tourism would allow drivers to better react to situations during their trips while also significantly reducing stress generated by rules unfit for coach transport, negatively impacting both passengers and drivers,” she added.
Coach tourism was one of the most severely impacted sectors by the pandemic. Travel restrictions and low demand for group tourism services bankrupted around 5-10% of coach tourism operators. Failure to support the sector via specific derogations for coach drivers could negatively impact the competitiveness of coach operators in Europe.
“In Europe, coach tourism is one of the safest and most environmentally friendly ways to move tourists. It deserves to be supported and encouraged through appropriate driving and rest time rules,” concluded Raluca Marian.