Occasional passenger transport. The Commission’s proposals as regards minimum requirements on breaks and rest periods

On 24 May 2023, the Commission proposed to adapt European rules on breaks and rest periods for drivers to better reflect the nature of occasional bus and coach services.

The proposal finds its rationale in the fact that the current rules are inappropriate to a certain extent for the occasional-passenger transport sector. Rest periods and breaks, indeed, are often required when drivers do not need them, making them unable to organise and carry out trips as desired by customers, or during busy seasonal periods, which can affect their incomes. Furthermore, those rules also negatively affect the working conditions of drivers, since they are unable to take breaks at convenient times and to minimise nights spent away from home, thereby reducing the attractiveness of the driving profession and putting road safety at risk. The proposal, therefore, aims to ensure a more flexible distribution of breaks and rest periods and to lay down equal treatment between international and domestic occasional passenger transport operations in order to guarantee efficient and high-quality services and to improve working and driving conditions for drivers. 

More particularly, according to the proposal i) drivers engaged in occasional passenger transport services will be allowed to split their obligatory break into three separate breaks of at least 15 minutes each, in addition to the existing possibility of splitting it into two separate breaks of 15 and 30 minutes, ii) drivers engaged in a single occasional passenger service lasting 8 days or more will be able to postpone the start of the daily rest period by 1 hour, when the total driving period for that day does not exceed 7 hours, or by 2 hours when it does not exceed 5 hours, and iii) the possibility of postponing the weekly rest period for up to 12 consecutive 24-hour periods following a previous regular period will be extended to national occasional passenger services.

Marco Stillo