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EU road transport industry supports cross-party coach driver agreement
EU | Brussels

EU road transport industry supports cross-party coach driver agreement

15 Nov 2023 · People

Ahead of Thursday’s vote in the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN), IRU urges MEPs to vote in support of the compromise amendments tabled by TRAN’s lead rapporteur on driving and rest time rules for coach drivers, making the much-needed distinction from the rules set for truck drivers.

In May 2023, over three years after the adoption of the EU's Mobility Package 1, the European Commission recognised that the current coach driver rules are not suited to the occasional passenger transport sector, as they only reflect the needs of the truck driver profession, and submitted a promising proposal.

The Commission’s proposal has since been improved by the Tran Committee's lead rapporteur on driving and rest time rules for coach drivers.

IRU Director of EU Advocacy Raluca Marian said, “Subjecting coach drivers, transporting 50 or more tourists, to rules meant for truck drivers carrying goods, as is the case today, is both irrational and dangerous: it exposes coach drivers to unnecessary stress and, in turn, undermines road safety.

“IRU is pleased to see that the cross-party compromise amendments in the TRAN Committee recognise this dangerous contradiction and support rules that are tailored to the specificities of the coach tourism sector. Coach drivers need to be given the choice to organise their breaks based on the nature of their work and the needs of their passengers, prioritising safety above all else.”

“This is exactly what the TRAN compromise amendments are about and the reason why we call on all TRAN members to vote and support these compromises,” she added.

Coach tourism drivers tailor their journeys according to the pace of their passengers. This means more breaks and stops along the way, and a combination of longer trips (at the start and end of long-distance tours) and shorter trips (during tours), with an average driving time of around 4.5 to 5 hours per day.

The file’s rapporteur, Henna Virkkunen (EPP), together with the shadow rapporteurs from all political groups, has constructively negotiated a set of compromise amendments. The rapporteur’s proposal takes into account, and further improves, the recommendations made earlier by the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs while also strengthening the proposal and simplifying the enforcement of future rules by digitalising control document and practices.

“IRU invites MEPs to strongly support the agreed compromise amendments at their vote on 16 November, opening the door to a constructive trilogue with the European Commission and Council, with the objective to finalise trilogue discussions in February 2024, and making the new rules available to coach tourism drivers, customers and operators already in 2024. It’s about time we give coach drivers rules suited to their work,” concluded Raluca Marian.