IRU welcomes the release of the second wave of proposals of the European Commission’s Mobility Package which recognises bus and coach transport as the cleanest and most efficient means of transport, but challenges the remaining weaknesses of the Mobility Package with the release of a new Position Paper.
Boosting bus and coach transport via increased competition, the reduction of administrative burdens on transport operators and the guarantee of non-discriminatory access to multimodal passenger transport is a positive development.
A 7% increase in the use of buses and coaches in the EU would result, according to the Commission, in a reduction of carbon costs by EUR 180 million, air pollution costs by EUR 500 million and accident costs by EUR 2.8 billion. Mobility for disadvantaged social groups would also increase by 130 billion passenger-kilometres.
Matthias Maedge, who leads IRU’s work in the EU said, “This proposal shows that the Commission is finally recognising the importance of bus and coach transport and its environmental and social benefits. European lawmakers and national governments must now recognise the specific benefits of a strong bus and coach transport sector and remove the barriers preventing it from serving people efficiently, in all aspects of the Mobility Package.”
IRU warns that with the liberalisation of intercity bus and coach transport, there is a strong requirement for guarantees that services covered by public service contracts following competitive tendering procedures remain protected, and that increased competition should not hurt the interests of passengers.
Matthias Maedge added: “We also welcome a stronger initiative on the deployment of clean vehicle fleets. Alternatives like CNG, LNG, hydrogen and electricity are needed, but what is still lacking is the financial support for operators to invest in new technologies and a concrete commitment from Member States to develop the required infrastructure.”
IRU wants to see a fairer competitive framework for passenger transport, road freight and logistics markets. The rules have to be simpler, clearer, more aligned across Member State levels and checks should be more targeted and intelligence-led.
The Mobility Package has some good elements, but IRU cannot accept any increased administrative burdens, which ultimately hamper the business viability of road transport companies.