Bem-vindo New Eurolines Member
The Eurolines Organisation is delighted to welcome Internorte as a new member.
Founded in 1974, Internorte continues to be
a highly respected international coach operator on the Portuguese
market and their participation and expertise in developing the
Eurolines brand is considered a major development for the
Eurolines President John Gilbert welcoming Rui Silva (Veolia
Transdev) and Joaquim Povoas (Internorte)
Passenger rights are all very well, but what about the
passenger experience, asks John Gilbert
European commission vice-president for transport Siim Kallas has
made passenger rights one of his policy priorities. Earlier this
year, he scored a success with the adoption of new measures to
apply common rules to bus and coach operators. Straight away,
Eurolines saw the significance of this as more of an opportunity
than a threat.
The proposals for bus and coach passenger rights would improve
the performance of the worst-performing operator - and this was
good news to companies like Eurolines, which pride themselves on
good standards of customer service. We met with members of the
transport committee working on the dossier so that we could share
with them our practical experience of operating long distance
It was useful for members to understand the difficulties of
putting in place some of the original commission's proposals which
would have imposed prohibitive costs and even put some good
operators out of business.
The key message for policymakers to understand was that although
some basic rights were required to squeeze out the rogue operators,
heavy-handed regulation would only force up the price of tickets,
meaning passengers would travel instead on low-cost airlines.
This would have had the perverse consequence of increasing
carbon emissions in the transport sector. Coach travel is, per
head, one of the greenest ways to travel and it was important that
the commission encouraged an increase in coach travel to keep
emissions low rather than reduce it. This was an important part of
our message to MEPs, ministers and of course the commissioner.
It became clear to us when engaging with the EU institutions
that there was a very limited understanding of the bus and coach
sector. Did the MEPs voting on this really understand our
passengers and what was important to them? While our passengers no
doubt welcome the new rights they will have in EU law, what is more
important to them are the facilities they might require at bus
stations, the location of the city centre terminals and the ability
to connect easily from another form of transport. Passenger rights
alone will not improve the passenger experience.
That is why we believe the European commission can do more to
improve the overall passenger experience. The commission has long
trumpeted the need for inter-modality, but our experience is that
the ability to connect with trains or planes is getting worse, not
better. Eurolines has been talking to the European rail and airport
sectors to try to find an agreement on a roadmap which commits the
authorities to tackling the obstacles to interconnectivity. But
policymakers need to play their part too.
The recently-published transport white paper gives only a
cursory nod to the need for improving infrastructure for inter'-
modality. The draft strategy has nothing at all to say on the lack
of accessible, centrally located, secure and equipped coach
terminals or centralised multimodal transport hubs in the major
This is a missed opportunity for the commission to support coach
passengers and tackle the enduring obstacles that passengers face.
Bus and coach travel are on the rise again and some are even
talking about a new age of the coach being around the corner.
Operators like Eurolines have improved their fleet to make the
journey even more comfortable, but transport authorities should do
their bit also to help improve the passenger experience.
Eurolines champion better facilities for Europe's coach
The Eurolines Organisation today urged key transport leaders
across Europe to support the long distance coach network and the
urgent need for greater investment in infrastructure and passenger
At an event hosted by Michael Cashman MEP in the European
Parliament, John Gilbert, President of Eurolines, outlined the
vital role of coach travel acrossEuropeand the unnecessary barriers
operators and passengers face in many locations.
With coach now accounting for 25% of all public transport trips
in Europe, Eurolines is calling for policy-makers to recognize the
role and contribution of coaches to safe, environmentally friendly
and affordable travel.
John Gilbert, President of the Eurolines Organisation, said:
"Coach plays a vital, but largely unrecognised role in keeping
Europe moving. Passengers choose coach because it's an affordable,
convenient way to travel cross border but there's a lot that public
authorities could to make the passenger experience better.
Empowering travellers to make intermodal journeys is a key
objective for the European Committee, but at present coaches are
denied access to a number of key terminals acrossEurope- making it
difficult for passengers to switch between train, coach and plane.
We would welcome increased support for coach acrossEuropeand a
commitment to investing in passenger facilities to ensure coach
travellers enjoy the same high standards as train and air
Eurolines also highlighted the trend towards increased border
checks for international coach services - even within Schengen.
This can result in unnecessary, cumbersome delays for passengers
and acts as a major deterrent for choosing coach in the future.
Michael Cashman MEP, said: "I'm pleased to see that Eurolines
has taken this initiative to campaign for better quality
infrastructure for long distance coach passengers. If we are
serious about getting people out their cars and into low cost,
green public transport, then cities across Europe need to invest in
the infrastructure that will help passengers access the services
The event was attended by a number of transport leaders
including Keir Fitch from the Cabinet of Commissioner Kallas, Oleg
Kamberski from IRU and Andrew Cleaves, Managing Director of
Eurolines announced plans to launch a series of awards in 2012
for the best equipped terminals and the most improved stations to
help raise awareness of the role of coach travel.
John added: "We're focused on providing the highest standard of
coach travel with free wifi and low prices, but we can't control
the experience before and after the journey. Next year we're
introducing a series of awards to recognise Europe's most coach
friendly towns and cities."
Europe's largest scheduled coach operator is also supporting an
initiative by the Smart Move campaign calling for an EU Transport
Policy to 2050 on buses, coaches and taxis. They want to
establish a group of industry experts and politicians to help
deliver a strategy which doubles coach passenger numbers over the
next 15 years.
John Gilbert re-elected Eurolines president at annual
The Eurolines Organisation has reappointed John Gilbert as
President for a second term at their annual conference in Ulm,
The Eurolines group is composed of 32 independent transport
operators which together form Europe's largest regular coach
network. As well as being President of the Organisation John
Gilbert is also Managing Director of Eurolines, part of National
Eurolines members from across Europe, including representatives
from Veolia Transdev and Deutsche Touring met at the two day
conference in Germany. Key items on the agenda included customer
care and safety as well as the proposed multimodal
journey planner for Europe. Pawel Stelmaszczyk from DG Move, who
are championing the single journey planner, gave a guest
presentation on the proposal and the possibilities for
Speaking after the conference newly re-elected John Gilbert
commented on his role as President and what the future holds for
the Eurolines Organisation during his two year term:
"We see big opportunities for the European coach network over
the coming years. Today's passengers are very savvy and demand
value for money, easy accessibility and a reliable service.
Eurolines already offers some of the competitive fares inEuropeand
we have a robust network of routes covering 500 destinations.
"The priority over the next two years is to focus relentlessly
on our customers - not only delivering what they want, but
exceeding their expectations too. We'll also work closer as an
organisation to strengthen the Eurolines brand across Europe. A
major part of this will be re-launching our website early next year
and better utilising social media to engage new audiences.
The Eurolines Organisation also has exciting growth plans and
will be extending further into Portugal. This means Eurolines
services now operate in a total of 29 countries spanning from
Dublin to St Petersburg and Naples."