Regulation (EU) 181/2011 establishes rules for the rights of passengers when travelling by bus and coach transport. Its aim is to regulate and improve the rights of passengers when travelling by bus and coach transport. It applies to regular services for non-specified categories of passengers where the boarding or the alighting point of the passengers is situated in the territory of a Member State and where the scheduled distance of the service is 250km or more.
With regards to occasional services, the Regulation applies only with regards to non-discriminatory conditions on the basis of nationality or place of residents; and for compensation and assistance in the event of accidents. Occasional services are defined as bus and coach services which do not fall within the definition of regular services and the main characteristics of which is the carriage by bus or coach of groups of passengers constituted on the initiative of the consumer or the carrier himself.
The applicability of the Regulation to Malta is limited in that no bus and coach service operating on the Maltese territory is of a distance of 250km or more. Consequently, in respect of Malta, the following are the rights applicable to all bus and coach services:-
the contract conditions and tariffs applied by carriers shall be offered to the general public without any direct or indirect discrimination based on nationality;
non-discriminatory treatment of disabled persons with reduced mobility;
any loss of or damage to wheelchairs, other mobility equipment or assistive devices needs to be compensated by carriers and terminal managing body;
carriers and terminal managing bodies must provide adequate travel information to passengers;
carriers shall set up and have in place a complaint handling system for the rights and obligations set out in the Regulation.
Making a Complaint
If you are not satisfied with how your rights have been applied by an operator you must:-
first contact the carrier within three months of your journey;
briefly summarise your complaint - provide dates, any booking reference, details of anyone you may have spoken to and any relevant documentation, whilst keeping a copy of your documents; and
if the company does not send a final reply within three months, or you are not satisfied with the company's response, you can lodge a complaint with one of the National Enforcement Bodies within the EU Member States.
What is required to process a complaint
When submitting a complaint to MCCAA, passengers are requested to forward with their complaint any relevant documentation related to their claim including proof that an attempt has been made to resolve the issue with the operator.
As part of the individual redress provided by the Authority, once a complaint is submitted an acknowledgement is sent within 2 days of submitting the complaint. The Authority will review the case and will contact the operator on the complainant’s behalf giving him a timeframe to reply. Usually, a period of 15 days is allowed for complaint handling communication to take place, which period can be extended upon request from the complainant. The MCCAA will be reviewing the submissions made by the operator in the light of the applicable legislation. The outcome of the complaint handling mechanism is to reach to an amicable agreement between the parties. Complaints can be submitted by filling in the online form.
Alternatively, you can submit your complaint to the MCCAA ADR Solution, which is the Residual ADR Body competent to handle disputes where there are no sector specific ADR entities. Full details on how to submit a dispute through the MCCAA ADR Solution is through the following link: https://adr.mccaa.org.mt/
Travelling in another European Member State
If you are travelling in another European Union Member State and you are travelling a distance of more than 250km, you have additional rights under Regulation (EU) 181/2011.
Details about the applicable passenger rights and how consumer rights can be claimed can be found on this link of the European Commission ‘Your Europe’ portal.
If you would like to get in touch with the MCCAA, you can do so by filling in our CONTACT US form.
Enforcement of Legislation
The Authority, depending on the type and amount of the complaints received, may conduct an investigation to determine whether there were any breaches of the Regulations and can initiate enforcement proceedings against the operator for breaches of Regulation (EC) 181/2011 which can result in the imposition of sanctions. Such proceedings are commenced by means of judicial proceedings.