Coronavirus and bus or coach travel: this is what you need to know!

Travelling through Europe by bus or coach? Then you are protected by European legislation. But what rights do you have if your international coach journey is cancelled due to the coronavirus? On this page, you can read everything you need to know about coach journeys in times of corona.

How we can help you

The European Consumer Centre informs you about your consumer rights in the EU, provides free legal advice in cross-border disputes, and mediates if you and the bus or coach operator cannot work it out together. Our website offers information, tips and sample letters that will help you take the right steps.

Coronavirus and bus or coach travel: this is what you need to know!

Good to know

To which countries can I travel by coach this summer?

Since 15 June, it is possible to travel to most countries in the European Union again. For example, you can go on holiday to Spain, Italy or Greece. Travelling to countries where the level of coronavirus cases is still high, such as the United Kingdom and Sweden, is not recommended for the time being. Read more about the most current travel advice on the website of the Central government.

However, the travel advice is not binding. If you do decide to travel to an area with a code orange advice, you will have to spend two weeks in home quarantine on your return.

#international-bus-or-coach-travel

Copied to clipboard!

What corona measures do I have to observe during the coach journey?

In order to protect you and your fellow coach passengers as much as possible against the coronavirus, employees of the coach company will complete a health check before your departure. When boarding and during the coach journey, you must cover your mouth and nose with a face mask. Do you have any health issues? Stay home and cancel your coach trip!

#corona-measurements-during-trip

Copied to clipboard!

I am infected with the coronavirus, can I cancel my coach journey free of charge?

If you can prove that you are infected with the coronavirus and you have cancellation insurance, you will probably be able to claim the cancellation costs and costs of your coach trip from the insurance. Please contact your insurer. 

Do you have no cancellation insurance or are the costs not covered by your policy? Please contact the coach company and ask if it is possible to change your coach ticket. Please indicate that you cannot travel because you have tested positive for the coronavirus. 
 

#cancellation-because-of-corona-infection

Copied to clipboard!

Can a coach company refuse me if I do not wear a face mask?

You are required to wear a face mask on a coach or bus. This applies in the Netherlands, but also in other countries in Europe. The coach company may deny you access to the coach if you refuse to wear a face mask. In a number of countries, it is compulsory to cover your mouth and nose at the station and on the bus platform. This can be done, for example, with a face mask or scarf. Before you travel, check what rules apply in the country of your holiday destination.

#face-mask

Copied to clipboard!

Do I get a refund if the provider cancels the coach service?

If a coach service is cancelled by the coach company, you are entitled to a rebooking or refund of the ticket price. Be aware that in times of corona, it may take a little longer to get the money back. The coach company may alternatively offer you a voucher. You do not have to accept this.

Your right to refuse a voucher
When cancelling your coach journey, the coach company may offer you a corona voucher as an alternative to the refund. This voucher should not be imposed on you. Are you refusing the voucher? Then you are still entitled to a refund of your money. 
 

#bus-travel-cancellation-refund?

Copied to clipboard!

What am I entitled to in the event of a long delay to my international coach journey?

If your coach journey is delayed, the coach company is obliged to inform you of the delay and expected departure time as soon as possible, and no later than within 30 minutes after the original departure time. If you have missed a connecting service due to the delay, the coach company must inform you about alternative connections. 

Coach journey of 250+ km with a minimum delay of 2 hours
For a coach journey of more than 250 km with a delay of more than two hours, you are entitled to:

  • a refund of your ticket and, if you are stranded abroad, a return journey free of charge to the place of departure at the earliest opportunity;
  • continue your journey to your final destination at the next opportunity. Under equivalent conditions to the coach journey you booked and at no extra cost. 

Does the coach company not offer one of these options? Then you can file a complaint, claim a refund of the ticket price, and claim an additional 50% compensation of the travel sum. 

Coach journey of 250+ km and a duration of 3 hours with 90 minutes delay
For a 250+ km coach journey that was originally supposed to take three hours, and for which the departure is delayed by more than 90 minutes, you are additionally entitled to:

  • snacks, meals or refreshments, in proportion to the duration of the delay;
  • accommodation if you have to stay the night somewhere due to the delay, with a maximum of two nights at € 80 per night, and transport to and from the accommodation. 

Force majeure? You are not entitled to compensation!
If the delay of your international coach journey is caused by bad weather conditions or a natural disaster, your right to compensation for the accommodation will lapse. 
 

#my-rights-in-event-of-a-delay

Copied to clipboard!

What am I entitled to in the event of a cancellation of my international coach journey?

If your coach journey is cancelled, the coach company is obliged to inform you of the cancellation as soon as possible, and no later than within 30 minutes after the original departure time. If you have missed a connecting service due to the cancellation, the coach company must inform you about alternative connections. 

Cancellation of a 250+ km coach journey due to overbooking or for operational reasons
For a coach journey of more than 250 km that has been cancelled for operational reasons or due to overbooking, you are entitled to:

  • a refund of your ticket and, if you are stranded abroad, a return journey free of charge to the place of departure at the earliest opportunity;
  • continue your journey to your final destination at the next opportunity. Under equivalent conditions to the coach journey you booked and at no extra cost. 

Does the coach company not offer one of these options? Then you can file a complaint, claim a refund of the ticket price, and claim an additional 50% compensation of the travel sum. 

Cancellation of a 250+ km coach journey and travel time of 3 hours
For a 250+ km coach journey that was originally supposed to take three hours, you are additionally entitled to: 

  • snacks, meals or refreshments, in proportion to the duration of the delay;
  • accommodation if you have to stay the night somewhere due to the cancellation, with a maximum of two nights at € 80 per night, and transport to and from the accommodation. 

Force majeure? You are not entitled to compensation!
If the cancellation of your international coach journey is caused by bad weather conditions or a natural disaster, your right to compensation for the accommodation will lapse. 
 

#my-rights-in-event-of-a-cancellation

Copied to clipboard!

Can I rebook my coach journey (free of charge) or cancel it in the event of a negative travel advice?

You can cancel your coach journey at any time, but as long as the coach company is able to execute the coach service, you will in principle not be able to rebook or cancel this trip free of charge. You are subject to the booking conditions and willingness of the coach company to change or cancel the coach journey free of charge. 

Change or cancellation in the case of a negative travel advice
Has a negative travel advice (code orange or red) been issued for your travel destination and has the coach company not cancelled the service you booked? Please contact the coach company and inquire about the possibilities for changing the coach journey (free of charge). 

Cancellation insurance
Insurers no longer see the cancellation of a coach journey because of the corona virus as a sudden event. Recovering money through your cancellation insurance is excluded with most insurers. 

#omboeken-annuleren-busreis-negatief-reisadvies

Copied to clipboard!

Do I have to accept a voucher if a coach journey is cancelled?

If you cancel your international coach journey because of the coronavirus, a coach company may offer you a corona voucher. You have the right to refuse this voucher. If this offer is refused, the coach company will have to refund you the ticket price. The voucher should not be forced on you.

#corona-voucher

Copied to clipboard!

What should I pay attention to when accepting a voucher?

If your international coach journey is cancelled because of the coronavirus, the coach company may offer you a corona voucher. Before you choose to accept this voucher, check if the voucher complies with the basic principles of the voucher scheme of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets ACM.

  • Accepting a voucher is a choice, it should not be imposed on you. The starting point remains that you are entitled to a refund when you cancel your booking. 
  • The voucher must be a full replacement. This means that the voucher value is equal to the original travel sum including booking fees and administrative costs, etc. 
  • Vouchers must have a reasonable validity period, e.g. 12 months. 
  • The remaining amount of the voucher (the part you have not spent) must be paid out afterwards by the coach company within a reasonable period of time. 
  • Have you made a down payment? Then you do not have to pay the remaining amount if you know that the holiday cannot go ahead or if the coach company will be unable to perform the agreement.

Also check if the voucher is covered by a guarantee fund or if another guarantee scheme applies, so you will not be left empty-handed in the event of bankruptcy.
 

#voucher-terms-of-condition

Copied to clipboard!

What can I do if the coach company refuses to refund my money?

If a coach company refuses to refund your money in the event of cancellation of your coach journey, you do not need to leave it at that. Let us explain what you can do!  

Download sample letter
Make your complaint known to the coach company in writing, via the website or by email. For this purpose, you can use the ECC sample letter ‘Coach service cancelled? Get your money back!’ This letter can be downloaded in Dutch and English. Free of charge! Give the coach company 4 weeks to respond.

Report it to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT)
Does the coach company fail to respond within the time limit you set or is your request for a refund rejected? Report it to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate. This regulator can take strict action against coach companies that do not comply with the rules and are taking unfair advantage of the corona crisis. 

Complaint about a foreign coach company? Ask ECC for assistance!
Do you live in the Netherlands and do you have a conflict with a foreign coach company established in another EU Member State, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom, which you cannot resolve together? Ask our legal specialists for assistance. We mediate between you and the coach company. Free of charge! 

Take it to court
If ECC’s mediation is unsuccessful, you can start a small claims procedure and submit your complaint to the court. Our legal specialists can inform you about the legal options and costs for starting this procedure. 

#coach-company-refuses-to-refund

Copied to clipboard!

About the ECC

How can the European Consumer Centre help me?

The European Consumer Centre will help find a solution for your complaint if you and a foreign bus or coach company cannot work it out together. You live in the Netherlands and the bus or coach company must be established in another EU country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom. Contact our legal specialists via the online form. Our legal aid is free. 

Question/complaint about a Dutch bus or coach company
If you have a question or complaint about a Dutch bus or coach company, please contact the Legal Services CounterACM Consuwijzer or the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate for legal assistance. 
 

#European-Consumer-Centre

Copied to clipboard!