Following intensive lobbying by the bus companies, from AT, BE, DK DE, ES, FR, IT, NL and SE some members of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee have called for different special rules for the driving time and rest periods of bus/coach drivers. I would like to present some of these possible special provisions in this article and give them objective criticism.
1.) Extension of the “working time” For Bus/Coach Tours and Day Excursions, twice a week, the 24-hour period, in which the prescribed daily rest period must lie, to extend for one hour. This results in the of 16 hours of working time.
Sure there are days that are associated with little driving time, but with a lot of “standing around” by the driver. Since this exception is not coupled to driving times, but the possible working time during the day is exhausted. But even the standing around, the “loitering” also makes you tired. If the driver did not has much of a drive time, he still has 15-hour day behind him and is usually tired. If the “work time” is increased to 16 hours, then this means just as well, including getting up, breakfast, drive to and from work, the driver is at least 20 hours awake. In the planned new regulation is forgotten, usually out of ignorance, that the driver on such a day just not get paid for 15 or 16 hours of work. Usually, 8 or max. 10 hours lump sum, because the driver has most of the time “break”. Whether an hour longer at the same wage makes the job more attractive, may well be questioned. The associations always justify their demands for more flexibility with the lack of drivers and with the fact that many drivers today prefer regular service. This has nothing to do with fear of penalties in Bus/Coach Tours and Day Excursions industry but with the fact that there are more regulated working hours in the regular service. Especially young drivers want to enjoy their free time and not 16 hours for the employer on the road and get paid half of it – especially in comparison to industry, this means double work at half the price!
Instead of making it clear to customers with equal intensity that it just costs money when they want to be on the road for 16 hours, this “free” customer service is now being carried out on the backs of the drivers.
2. The splitting of the Rest period Drivers in the Bus/Coach Tours and Day Excursions industry should be allowed to split the daily rest period into three parts – 1 hour / 2 hours and 9 hours.
Drivers in the Bus/Coach Tours and Day Excursions industry should be allowed to split the daily rest period into three parts – 1 hour / 2 hours and 9 hours. This used to exist in Regulation EC 3820/85. Here is an attempt, the times of standing around the bus driver already attributed to the rest period. As a result, drivers will generally only have 9 hours of sleep during the season and can, therefore, be used more intensively. However, the driver has to drive home in the 9 hours rest, possibly eat, sleep and drive back to work … If you think that such a split rest period is sufficient for a driver, why not for truck drivers as well?
3. Flexibilization of the daily breaks To this subject, the EU Committee on Labor and Social Affairs has asked for the inclusion of a change. Specifically, the drivers on Bus/Coach Tours and Day Excursions should be allowed to take the current order of the split break also vice versa, so only 30 minutes and then 15 minutes. Hereby the common practice is enforced for all bus/coach drivers. In order to be more flexible with the passengers on the day, drivers drive around the yard for 1 minute in the morning and then take a break of 15 minutes. As a result, thus 9 hours of driving time with only 30 minutes interruption in between is now possible. After the proposal of the committee then only 15 minutes !!!
The current driver break regulation was made plausible and practical in the context of recital 16, with the entry into force of 561:
(16) The provisions of Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 made it possible to plan daily driving times and breaks that drivers could drive too long without a full break, leading to road safety compromises and worse working conditions for the drivers. It is, therefore, appropriate to ensure that split breaks are arranged to prevent abuse.
4. The 12-day regulation Basically, the previous condition “24h to stay abroad” has no effect on traffic safety. When this condition disappears, no much changes. However, it should be ensured that the condition on the Bus/Coach Tours and Day Excursions driver can also be monitored.
In principle, too many special arrangements are put in front of the EU Commission trying to make the regulations easier and more understandable. But for trainers, however, there are many new challenges to train the driver in the much more complicated regulations. It will be very interesting in the future for drivers, which drive both truck and bus. Here are errors and violations due to the different regulations preprogrammed.