Tourism Bodies Call on EU Commission to Adapt Changes for Coach Tourism Drivers


Tourism and travel associations have called on the European Commission to support proposals on modifying driving times and rest periods for coach drivers.

In a letter directed to the EU Commission, The European Tourism Association, the European Travel Agents and Tour Operators in Europe Association and the International Road Transport Union (IRU) are urging the authority to introduce more adequate regulation for coach drivers, as the current one which was a requirement of the Mobility Package was mostly focused on the freight sector, reports.

“Targeted and specific driving and rest time provisions for coach tourism would allow drivers to better react to situations during their trips while also significantly reducing stress generated by rules unfit for such transport,” the letter directed to Adina VAlean, the EU Commissioner for transport, reads.

An IRU spokesperson pointed out that the proposals were developed based on the consolation of all members and include the following:

  • Changes to the current 12-day derogation for national transport flexibility
  • Extending the maximum daily duty time on a limited basis by one hour
  • Adaption on the 45-minute break, enabling the possibility to split those into three 15-minute break
  • Revisions to split daily rests and periods around reduced weekly rests

According to the bodies, the drivers’ current position isn’t ideal and coach tourists break their journey more frequently and spend time waiting for tourists at different attractions.

That is especially common for long-distance trips, at the beginning and the end of tours, but the organizations believe that new measures would allow drivers to reduce stress caused by such inconveniences.

The letter also points out that coach tourism was the most severe and longest impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions and decreasing demand for tourism services due to such restrictions have led to the bankruptcy of five to ten per cent of tourism operators in this sector. This situation can further impact Europe’s entire occasional transport, as it is the world’s number one tourist destination, including for groups of coaching tourism.

Data by Eurostat reveals that 10.8 million people in Europe were employed in the transport sector in 2020, indicating that there are 29 transport workers for every 1,000 inhabitants, accounting for five per cent of all workers in the EU.

The EC might pick some of the changes and implement them into its proposal to legislators, either way, the bodies accept that additional discussion and explanation could be necessary with enforcement authorities in order to ensure the efficiency of any of the modifications. The Commission is expected to come up with its proposal next week, by March 29.

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