Coach drivers’ hours rules change agreed
Rule change hailed as ‘one of the most important victories for the coach tourism business’
Changes to drivers’ hours rules for coach drivers on European tours have been agreed by the European Parliament. The change is expected to offer more operational flexibility on trips in the EU, as well as better reflect the difference between coach and freight.
The Council presidency and European Parliament have agreed on specific driving and rest time rules for coach tourism drivers. The changes will:
- Allow coach drivers to split their 45-minute breaks into two breaks of at least 15 minutes. Make it possible for them to postpone their daily rest period by one hour once per trip, provided that the total accumulated driving time for that day has not exceeded seven hours.
- Allow all drivers to drive longer national tours of up to 12 days, which was previously only possible during international trips.
- Additionally, the Journey Form Authorisations (Waybills) are to be replaced by a digital form after the completion of a European Commission study.
The announcement comes after The European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) voted in support of the amendments to the rules in November 2023.
“These changes will offer drivers more choices on taking their rest times, and operators more operational flexibility when they’re planning jobs” – Andy Warrender, RHA Operations Manager, Coach Sector
Andy Warrender, RHA Operations Manager, Coach Sector, welcomed the move and called on the UK Government to adopt these changes in the UK: “This is a long-awaited announcement which will be a welcome boost for coach drivers and operators doing tourism work abroad.
“These changes will offer drivers more choices on taking their rest times, and operators more operational flexibility when they’re planning jobs.
“We’re calling on the UK Government to implement similar improvements and review the current driving and working hours arrangements applicable to journeys wholly within the UK.”
“We’ve done it. After years of advocacy, we’ve achieved one of the most important victories for the coach tourism business” – IRU Director of EU Advocacy, Raluca Marian
IRU Director of EU Advocacy, Raluca Marian, said: “We’ve done it. After years of advocacy, we’ve achieved one of the most important victories for the coach tourism business: the EU has finally recognised the specificities of the passenger transport sector. Coach tourism drivers will now operate under rules meant for their profession, rather than their truck driver colleagues.
“The new driving and rest time rules for coach tourism will not only improve drivers’ working conditions, they will also improve road safety. Targeted and specific driving and rest time provisions will allow coach tourism drivers to better react to their passengers’ schedules while also significantly reducing the stress generated by rules unfit for tourism.”
She concluded that coach tourism drivers tailor their journeys according to the pace of their passengers, saying the new rules will ‘unleash the full potential of this environmentally friendly mode of transport’.