Touring bus drivers’ breaks: EU Parliament voted to start talks with EU Council

On Tuesday (12 Dec 2023), European Parliament adopted its position on the review of EU rules on driving and resting times for drivers, to serve the specific needs of occasional passenger transport sector.

The updated text, approved by 477 votes to 101 and 41 abstention, constitutes Parliament’s mandate for negotiations with EU governments.

It ensures more flexibility for bus and coach drivers, providing occasional service, to take breaks and rest periods. In comparison to regular bus service the occasions transport sector is subject to high seasonality, longer distances driven at the beginning and the end of the tour, as well as more frequent needs to accommodate unplanned passenger requests for additional stops or changes of routes

 

More flexibility

MEPs suggested giving occasional bus drivers an option to split their obligatory break into two breaks of at least 15 minutes each, while respecting the total required minimum rest time of 45 minutes during or at the end of four and a half hours driving.

They are also in favour allowing drivers, engaged in at least 6 days tour, to postpone the daily rest period by at most 1 hour, provided that the total driving time for that day has not exceeded 7 hours. However, this flexibility should not jeopardise road safety and could only be applied once during the tour, add MEPs.

MEPs also backed the possibility of postponing the weekly rest period for up to 12 days in national occasional passenger services. It currently exits for international passenger services.

 

Supervision

MEPs advocate for efficient enforcement and supervision of proposed flexibility by asking the Commission to set up a multilingual interface, which would allow the operators to upload their digital journey forms, replacing paper forms. These forms should be electronically registered prior to the start of the journey, in addition to the tachograph records, and should be accessible in real time during road side checks, they add.

 

Quote

EP rapporteur Henna Virkkunen (EPP, Finland) said: “Transporting people is different from transporting goods. This is why we need a slight adaptation of the existing driving and resting rules, to better serve the specific characteristics of the occasional passenger transport sector. This regulation helps the drivers to better respond to changing circumstances and passenger needs, while respecting road safety and proper working conditions. Simultaneously we must ensure that all driving and resting rules are correctly enforced and controlled.”

 

Next steps

Parliament is now ready to start talks with national governments on the final form of the law.

(Press Releases EU TRAN)

 

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