Travels and transportation
Travelling by bus across EU borders
Have you experienced a delay or cancellation to a bus journey, or have you experienced discrimination when buying bus tickets? You will find an overview of your rights as a bus passenger on routes within the EU here.
EU rules on bus passenger rights apply if your journey takes place by long-distance bus, i.e. a distance of at least 250 km, and starts or finishes in an EU Member State.
This means that you are covered by these rights if you travel on a long-distance bus on specified routes, where passengers are picked up and dropped off at fixed stops according to a set timetable – no matter how far on the route you travel by the bus. Your rights are not affected if, for example, you travel 50 km by bus, as long as the entire bus route is at least 250 km long.
However, all passengers are covered by rights that safeguard against discrimination, regardless of the length of the journey.
The EU rules apply to Danish domestic routes. However, there are few bus routes in Denmark that are over 250 km long. When the bus route is less than 250 km, it is the travel rules of the individual bus company that describe your rights.
The bus company must provide clear and correct information about the service and your passenger rights. This information must also be provided in a format accessible to people with disabilities.
There are two exceptions where each EU country can choose to disregard EU rules on bus passenger rights. These are long-distance routes where:
- The bus never crosses the border into another EU country
- A large proportion of the bus route, including at least one scheduled stop, takes place in a country outside the EU.
The price of your bus ticket must be the same, regardless of where you buy your ticket and regardless of your nationality.
If your bus departure is delayed or cancelled
If the scheduled bus departure for which you have booked a seat is delayed by more than two hours, is overbooked or is cancelled, the bus company or the terminal operator must inform you of the situation as soon as possible – and no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time.
You should also be informed of the estimated departure time as soon as this information is available.
You must also be offered the choice between:
- Continuing or re-routing your journey to your final destination under similar conditions at the earliest opportunity and at no extra cost
- Reimbursement of your ticket and, as appropriate, a free return service to the initial departure point of the service at the earliest opportunity.
If the bus company does not offer you these options, you are entitled to compensation equal to 50% of the ticket price as well as a refund for your ticket as mentioned above. The bus company must pay the compensation no later than one month after you sent your complaint to the bus company.
If one of the following conditions is met, you can complain to the Appeal Board for Bus, Train and Metro:
- The bus company is Danish
- Your journey is primarily connected to Denmark or
- The bus company refers to the Appeal Board in their agreement terms/conditions.
Additional rights for bus journeys over three hours
If your journey was scheduled to last more than three hours and the departure is delayed by more than 90 minutes or is cancelled, you are also entitled to:
- Snacks, meals or refreshments in reasonable proportion to the waiting time, provided they are available or can reasonably be supplied on the bus or in the terminal
- Accommodation if you have to stay overnight (for up to two nights, at a maximum rate of €80 per night) and transport to your accommodation and return to the terminal.
People with disabilities or reduced mobility have special rights in these situations, which means that the bus company must pay special attention to their needs and, if applicable, the needs of an accompanying person.
If the departure of your bus was cancelled due to severe weather conditions or a natural disaster, the bus company does not have to cover accommodation costs.
Special rights for people with disabilities and people with reduced mobility
If you have a disability or reduced mobility, you have the right to access bus, air, train or boat travel like anybody else.
When you buy your ticket, the seller must give you information about your journey in a format that is accessible to you as well as information on the specific facilities available to you on board the bus.
You cannot be prevented from purchasing a ticket, making a reservation or boarding because of your disability or reduced mobility, unless this is strictly necessary to comply with legal health and safety requirements, or if the infrastructure means that you cannot be guaranteed safe transport.
You also have the right to help with your luggage when you board the bus and at the end of the journey, as well as the right to help with the safe storage of your luggage during the journey. The rights also include proper handling of personal aids, such as wheelchairs.
Right to accompanying assistance free of charge
You are entitled to assistance free of charge if you are planning a bus journey, regardless of length, on a long-distance route of 250km or more. The right to free assistance – including getting on and off the bus – applies to both terminals and on all means of transport.
In addition, the company must allow a person of your choice to travel with you free of charge – if this solves any security or safety concerns that would otherwise prevent you from travelling.
To make sure you get the assistance you need, you must contact the bus company, ticket seller or tour operator at least 36 hours before your trip starts to tell them what help you require. The company or the terminal manager may ask you to come to a designated point not more than one hour before the scheduled departure.
How to make a complaint to the bus company
If you wish to make a complaint, you must contact the company that issued the bus ticket within three months of the scheduled departure where the problem occurred – regardless of whether or not the trip took place.
- Briefly summarise your complaint and provide relevant documentation, including dates, booking references and details of all the people you have spoken to
- Keep a copy of your documents and allow a reasonable time limit for your claim to be looked at.
The bus company must react within one month and give you a final reply three months after receiving your complaint.
In the case of a bus company based in another EU Member State, you can contact ECC Denmark if you are not satisfied with the bus company’s response. ECC Denmark offers free advice and complaint guidance.
If you wish to make a complaint about a Danish bus company, contact the Appeal Board for Bus, Train and Metro (abtm.dk).