After more than two years of difficult and lengthy negotiations, the regulation on the rights of bus passengers was finally adopted by the European Parliament on the 15th of February. The same text was endorsed by the Council two weeks earlier.
EDF was actively contributing to the discussions and called for an ambitious regulation, ensuring equal travel opportunities for passengers with disabilities. Although the final regulation does not include all our demands, it still provides for a set of important rights for passengers with disabilities such as the right to transport, the right to information under certain conditions, full compensation of wheelchairs or other mobility equipment that are lost or damaged. Furthermore, the transport personnel needs to undergo basic training on how to meet the needs and assist persons with disabilities. Assistance should be provided if possible, as long as the passenger has notified his or her needs beforehand. If the operator is unable to provide suitable assistance, a passenger with a disability has the right to be accompanied at no extra charge by a persons of his/her choice.
The Parliament adopted the legislation under the co-decision procedure (third reading conciliation agreement) by 504 votes to 63 with 89 abstentions.
EDF now calls on Member States not to ask for exemptions to the regulation and that they ensure that the needs of passengers with disabilities are respected as far as possible during all parts of the transport chain, preferably above the minimum requirements under the regulation. EDF’s members will have a key role to play in order to ensure a constructive dialogue with national bus operators and transport authorities resulting in an ambitious implementation of the regulation, thus leading to non-discrimination of bus passengers with disabilities in Europe