The new law comes into force in early 2013. Passengers will be entitled to compensation in case of large delays, as well as for meals or accommodation in case of failure on international routes.
More information from the Euronews website:
A new EU law on coach passengers’ rights will come into effect in 2013. The rules cover all long-distance scheduled passenger services, whether national or crossing borders.
Compensation can be as much as half of the purchase price as well as a full refund of the ticket, if an operator cancels a service or somehow cannot honour the transport contract, after a departure is delayed by at least two hours.
The law package includes the provision of information before and during a journey and the needs of people with disabilities or reduced mobility.
A more than 90 minute delay will entitle passengers to snacks and refreshments. If a trip is interrupted forcing passengers to make an unforeseen extended pause part-way, the operator has to pay for hotel accommodations.
The rules will not apply where natural disasters or unsafe weather causes problems; but the operator is liable in the case of death or injury from accident.
Lost or damaged luggage entails compensation under the law as well.
I think that is a very good news for passengers using national and international coach services. This gives some confidence in the event of unplanned circumstances, that we are protected by European law. The new EU directive also protects people with disabilities, because carriers need to adapt coaches to the needs of the disabled. The buildings of bus terminals and bus stops must also be adapted for them.