The European classification system defines buses and coaches as “vehicles having at least four wheels, designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers, comprising more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat”.

Buses and coaches are classified as the ‘M2’ category (for those under 5 tonnes) or ‘M3’ (for those exceeding 5 tonnes) by the system.


Buses are the most widely-used form of public transport in the EU, serving cities as well as suburban and rural areas.

Buses are the most cost-efficient and flexible form of public transport, requiring minimal investments to launch new lines or routes.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems have gained popularity worldwide as a cost-effective alternative to far more expensive urban rail investments.

Coaches move people comfortably and affordably across long distances. Buses and coaches are vital contributors to tourism.

With one bus capable of replacing 30 cars on the road, buses help ease traffic congestion.

Buses and coaches have the lowest carbon footprint per passenger of any form of motorised transport.

Buses are a safe transport mode, responsible for just 0.4% of road fatalities in the EU.

Buses and coaches improve social inclusion, providing access to education, employment and healthcare to all – including those on low incomes, those who do not drive, the older generation, people with disabilities and people living in remote areas.

Buses are an important link in the multimodal mobility chain.

Figures about the importance of buses and coaches in this fact sheet

Road freight transport is the backbone of trade and commerce on the European continent. Trucks carry 75% of freight transported over land, delivering 14 billion tonnes of goods per year.

Vans are key players in the logistics chain, enabling the ‘last mile’ delivery of goods in urban areas. Largely used by SMEs as business tools, vans power the European economy, helping businesses to thrive.