Your rights when you travel by bus or coach
What are my rights when travelling by bus or coach?
You have passenger rights when you travel on most buses or coaches in the EU.
These cover delays, cancellations, lost luggage and injury to passengers.
Travel operators must:
- Give you information about your rights and what help you are entitled to
- Treat you and other passengers fairly and equally
- Resolve issues caused by delays or cancellations
Travel operators include transport companies (which run buses) and companies that operate terminals such as bus stations.
Travel services covered
You have certain rights when travelling by bus or coach within the EU. These EU rules apply to:
- Journeys that begin and end within the EU
- Regular services that run along specified routes with scheduled stopping points
Rules for bus companies
Bus companies running regular bus services of any distance must:
Sell tickets without any discrimination
Operators cannot discriminate based on your nationality or where you live. For example, they must not set different prices for people of different nationalities.
Throughout the journey, operators must provide information on your rights and contact details for the Irish National Transport Authority. If travelling in another EU country, they must provide details for another national enforcement body (NEB).
Be able to receive complaints
They must provide a complaints system so you can claim your rights.
When travelling on a regular bus service with a scheduled distance of more than 250km, you must also be given a ticket (paper copy or an e-ticket) or another document giving you the right to travel.
Cancellations, delays and compensation
When travelling on a regular bus service with a scheduled distance of more than 250km, you have additional rights if your departure is delayed or cancelled.
You are entitled to:
- Re-routing or refund
- Care and assistance
- Compensation and help if there is an accident
The bus company must tell you about the situation within 30 minutes of the time the bus was due to leave. They should also tell you:
- The time it is likely to leave
- Alternative ways to get to your destination if you will miss a connection
Re-routing or refund
Where the service has been over-booked, cancelled or delayed by more than 2 hours, you have the right to choose:
- Re-routing to your final destination or
- To get a full refund
If you were not offered this choice, you have the right to a refund plus additional compensation of 50% of the ticket price.
Care and assistance
If your service was due to last more than 3 hours and is delayed by more than 90 minutes, you have extra entitlements.
The bus company must offer you:
- Free snacks, meals and refreshments in line with the length of the delay
- Accommodation if you have to stay overnight for up to 2 nights (to the maximum value of €80 a night) and transport to and from the accommodation
Compensation and help if there is an accident
You are entitled to compensation for death or personal injury and for luggage that is lost or damaged due to an accident. You also have the right to reasonable assistance immediately after an accident. This can include accommodation, food, clothes, transport and first aid.
Support for passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility
If you have a disability or reduced mobility, you have specific rights when you travel by bus or coach.
You have the right to:
- Be treated fairly and equally
- Be given information about your rights and the accessibility of the service
- Get help if you need it
You also have the following extra rights:
Your right to access and a ticket
You have the right to get a ticket, book a seat and use transport services in the same way as other passengers. You should not be discriminated against or charged extra.
You can only be refused travel if the service cannot be provided safely. For example, due to the layout of the bus or coach, the boarding points, or the type of seats or luggage racks.
In most cases, if the bus company refuses you a ticket or a reservation, or requires you to bring a helper, they must immediately tell you why. If you ask for written confirmation, they must send it to you within 5 working days.
Your right to assistance
Assistance means extra help because you have a disability or have reduced mobility. You must tell the bus company what help you will need before you travel. The bus company should then give the assistance free of charge.
If you will need help at a bus terminal and on board the coach, you must give at least 36 hours’ notice before you plan to travel.
If you need someone to come with you to help you, they must be allowed to travel for free. You must inform the bus company, before you travel, about your specific requirements.
You can get a refund or re-routing if you have a ticket or a reservation, and:
- You told the bus company about your specific needs
- You are not allowed to travel because of your disability or reduced mobility
Your mobility equipment is lost or damaged
If your medical or mobility equipment is lost or damaged (and the bus company is at fault), you are entitled to compensation. The bus company should do their best to provide suitable temporary replacement equipment.
Your Europe has more information about rights for travellers with reduced mobility.
Making a complaint
If you are not satisfied with how a bus company has handled an issue, you should complain to them directly.
Contact the bus company to find out exactly how to make a complaint to them.
Follow their instructions to make a complaint. You must make your complaint within 3 months of the incident. You must receive a reply within 1 month, telling you that the complaint has been accepted or rejected or if it is still being considered.
Taking your complaint further
If you are not satisfied with the response, you can take your complaint to the National Transport Authority (NTA).
If you cannot resolve your complaint or the bus company refuses to pay compensation, you can consider court action. If your claim for compensation is €2,000 or less, you use the small claims procedure.
For cross-border disputes within the EU for €5,000 or less, you can use the European small claims procedure.
You can find out more information about:
The law covering bus or coach passenger rights is set out in Regulation (EU) 181/2011, which was brought into Irish legislation by the European Union (Rights of Passengers when Travelling by Bus and Coach Transport) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 152/2013).
National Transport Authority (NTA) is responsible for enforcing coach passenger legislation in Ireland. It is the National Enforcement Body (NEB) in Ireland.
The NTA has more information about your bus and coach passenger rights.
Your Europe has more information about EU passenger rights.