IRU to host bus and coach workshop on intercity travel

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The International Road Transport Union (IRU) is organising a bus and coach workshop on European intercity travel, as governments and policy-makers are actively seeking a safe, green and affordable intercity transport alternative for all citizens.

Brussels , says the IRU, is on the eve of a green revolution as politicians and administrations shift their transport policy priorities and increasingly move towards green and affordable bus and coach intercity travel. In response to this rise in demand, the IRU will hold a workshop on “Long Distance Bus and Coach Transport in Europe: (re)Discovering the Wheel”, in Brussels on February 29, 2012.

The workshop will give MEPs, transport ministers and leading company managers the opportunity to debate the future of long distance European intercity travel by bus and coach, take a detailed look at specific case studies from Spain, Norway, Italy and Germany, and discuss lessons to be learned, challenges and opportunities of opening intercity travel market to private bus and coach companies.

The deepening economic and financial crisis has led an ever increasing number of European governments, such as those in France, Germany and Sweden, to increasingly consider bus and coach travel as their preferred policy alternative, to ensure affordable yet safe, green and efficient intercity mobility for all citizens, at the lowest costs for society.

Experience has shown that European countries such as Spain and Norway, which have opened their intercity travel market to private bus and coach businesses, have achieved spectacular results, benefiting both customers and businesses alike, in terms of higher service quality and steadily increasing ridership. In Norway, ridership on long distance bus and coach lines in Norway has more than doubled in five years, attracting most of these new passengers from cars, rather than from competing train and air services.

Private bus and coach travel offers today the optimal policy and customer mobility alternative, in particular in intercity travel in Europe, where over 90% of all trips are below 100 kilometres, on the condition, however, that businessfriendly policies, legislation and infrastructure are provided.

The IRU’s workshop will serve as a platform to discuss the pros and cons of using buses and coaches for European intercity travel as well as placing collective passenger transport by bus and coach at the heart of the policy and business debate on viable alternative modes of transport.

The workshop takes place at the Softel hotel in Brussels and is free to attend but delegates must register online at www.iru.org which has details of the workshop programme and surrounding events.