Coach and Bus Services

There are common EU rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services. Where the carriage takes place between EU and non-EU state, the regulation applies to the part of the journey within the EU territory crossed in transit.  It is not applicable to the part of the journey and the territory of the EU country of loading or unloading.  It applies to the national carriage of goods by road carried out temporarily by a non-resident haulier.

A carrier is permitted to carry out regular international carriage services, including special regular services and occasional services by bus and coach without discrimination on grounds of nationality or place of the establishment, if

  • it is authorised in the EU country of establishment to undertake  carriage by means of regular services in accordance with market access conditions and national law;
  • it fulfils conditions on admission to the occupation of road passenger transport operator in national and international operations;
  • it meets the legal requirements relating to EU standards for drivers and vehicles;

The International carriage of passengers by coach and bus is subject to a Community licence issued by the competent authorities of the State of the licensed establishment.  It is issued to a carrier for a renewable period of up to 10 years.  It is non-transferable.


Authorisations are issued in the name of the carrier for up to five years and are non-transferable.  An authorised carrier, with the consent of the competent authority of the State where the point of departure is located, may operate the service through a subcontractor.

Authorisations are issued in agreement with the competent authorities of all the States in whose territories passengers are picked up or set down.  They must specify the type of service, route, stops and timetable, period of validity and they entitle the holder to operate regular passenger service in the territories of all States over which the service passes.

Authorisation, renewal and alteration of authorisation, will be granted unless:

  • the applicant cannot provide the necessary services with equipment directly available;
  • the applicant has not complied with national and international road transport legislation;
  • conditions of authorisation have not been complied with in the case of an application for renewal;
  • EU State decide that service concerned would seriously affect the viability of a comparable service covered by one or more public service contracts;
  • EU State decides that the principal purpose of the service is not the carriage of passengers between different EU States.


Other than in cases of force majeure, the operator of a regular service must take all measures to guarantee a transport service that fulfils standards of continuity, regularity and capacity and complies with the conditions laid down by a competent authority.

Carriers operating a regular service must issue either individual or collective transport tickets indicating the points of departure, arrival, period of validity and the fare.

In the event of a serious infringement, the competent authorities of the State of establishment of the carrier must take appropriate action, which may include a warning, imposition of administrative penalties.  If a non-resident carrier seriously infringes legislation, the country in which the infringement is ascertained will send particulars of the infringement, to the country of establishment.

Cabotage operations are authorized for the following services

  • National passenger services carried on a temporary basis by a carrier in a host EU state
  • Picking up and setting down of passengers within the same date and in the course of a regular international service provider that cabotage is not the principle purpose of the service

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