The IRU has welcomed the European Commission’s publication of harmonised guidance for the return of the transport and tourism sectors as well as the opening of borders. The EU is recommending the gradual resumption of transport services for all modes to restore connectivity.
The IRU notes the new guidelines on safety priorities for drivers and passengers and welcomes the fact that the EU guidelines take into account the composition and dynamics of passenger groups, for example recognising that family members should be able to sit and travel together.
The Commission’s recommendation on vouchers is also welcomed by IRU as an alternative to reimbursement for cancelled trips in the context of the current pandemic, which has put heavy financial strains on travel operators.
“The road passenger transport sector has seen its activities come to an almost complete stop during the crisis,” says Raluca Marian, member of the IRU EU delegation. “Allowing operators to offer their customers flexible, refundable and insolvency-protected vouchers for cancelled services due to the closure of borders is a breather for the industry. Consumer rights have to remain protected, but transport operators equally need protection, as they face the imminent risk of liquidity shortages. Their survival is crucial to drive the recovery.
The IRU also argues that as lockdowns are removed and the European economy picks up again, drivers should have unhindered access to their place of work and once returning home, they should not be subject to any systematic quarantine measures.