Be aware of your rights is always important, especially during a journey, that is one of the moments in our life that the last thing we want to happen is some problem. So, in order to avoid future headaches, is good to know about the laws that protect you as consumer and traveler.
To help you in this task, the Brasil by Bus brought together some of the most valuables rules when the subject is travelling by bus.
Your rights during a bus trip
Right to choose: You have the right to choose the options that the bus companies offers to you and to receive in return a punctual, safe, hygienic and comfortable service from start to finish of the trip. This means that if an unforeseen happens, such as changes on the classification of the bus (leito to executivo, for example) or the toilets do not work, the seats are defective or something like that, you are entitled to receive the difference of the ticket price, since you are not receiving the service you paid for.
Transparency: The bus company chosen has to inform you about everything related to the service offered, in other words, you have the right to know all about the time and duration of the trip, which are the destinations they offer, prices, etc.
Priority and gratuitousness: Elderly, children and people with limited mobility have priority when purchasing the bus ticket and at the moment of embark or disembark. Passengers older than 60 years old and with income equal to or less than two minimum wages, have two free seats reserved, if they are already occupied, the company shall provide at least 50% discount on the bus fare. People with special needs that have the Carteira do Passe Livre, provided by the Ministry of Transport, also has two free seats reserved to travel. This right in guaranteed only on the buses classified as “convencional”. Kids not older than 6 years old do not have to pay for the bus ticket, as long they occupy the same seat of their responsible.
Luggage: You can carry a 30kg bag that will be place at the luggage rack and handbags that do not exceed 5kg with you inside the bus. The companies can charge you with the luggage exceed the maximum of 300 cubic decimeters or if the bag is larger than one meter. You must always receive a voucher that confirms that the luggage is being transported. If your luggage is lost or damaged, you must fill out a form at the end of the trip and give it to the driver or at the bus company's booth. From the date of the complaint, you should receive a lump sum of compensation within 30 days.
Delays: If your bus is late more than an hour, you can require the repayment of the value of the ticket or request an equivalent service to the same destination. Remember that, if you choose to travel in other bus company you must travel free of charge. If the delay or the interruption of the travel lasts longer than three hours and it is the companies’ fault, you have the right to receive food and if the trip do not proceed on the same day, the bus company must provide hosting.
Validity: Your ticket is valid for one year. The bus tickets can be canceled with a 100% refund within 24 hours before the reservation date. If you change your mind concerning the travel date, you have until three hours before the trip to reschedule without being charged. However, if you decide to reschedule after this tree hours, the company is allowed to charge you up to 20% fine.
Second Copy: Since January 2015, the name of the passenger must be printed on the ticket. This way, if case of loss or theft of the ticket, you can ask for the second copy of your ticket to the bus company.
Safe trip: The Brazilian legislation has two life insurance arrangements, one is called Seguro de Responsabilidade Social and the other DPVAT, all passengers, including foreigners, have the right to claim compensation in case of accidents. You are also free to choose a private life insurance.
Complaints: Every bus company has a customer service where you can ask questions concerning your trip or complaint if something went wrong. If the problem took certain proportions, you can recourse on ANTT, the Brazilian National Land Transportation Agency, by looking for its office at the bus stations or calling 166.
Traveling with animals: Accept or not to transport domestic animals weighting at most 10 kg is an option of the company. Still, is necessary to have the animal’s documents, such as a veterinary certificate and vaccination card. The animal must be in a shipping box that will be put on the luggage rack or in a seat next to the passenger, upon the payment of an additional bus fare.
Reschedules: You can reschedule the ticket at any time, if the destination is the same and your ticket is not expired. If you need to change the ticket with less than three hours to the trip, you must pay a fee of up to 20% on the value of the ticket.
Antecedence: The bus companies must start selling the tickets; at least, 30 days before the date chosen date travel.
Your duties as passenger
Behavior: You must identify yourself and meet the demands of fiscal and drivers. Inside the bus, it is forbidden to carry weapons and it is also not allowed to smoke or travel drunk. Use the seat belt and, remember, any behavior that bother people who are traveling with you, like listening to loud music without headphones, should be avoided.
Identification: You can be identified by presenting passport, Foreign Identity Card (CIE), diplomatic or consular identity, CIE shipping application protocol (provided the application is made no later than 180 days) and other legal travel documents, depending on the types international agreement signed by Brazil. Foreign up to 60 years of age and disabled person can travel with CIE overdue, if provided they have a permanent visa and have participated in the re-registration. Kids under 12 that were born in Brazil and those who were born abroad and have Brazilian mother or father, can only travel unaccompanied of parents or guardians with a judicial authorization. They may be in the company of siblings, grandparents, uncle, cousins, or an accompanying older than 18 years old authorized by the parents. As identification, is required to present the ID or passport. If the trip is not international, you can also use the birth certificate (original or certified copy).
Lost or stolen documents: If something like that happened to your documents and if the travel is inside Brazil, you can present a police report issued less than 30 days as identification.
Luggage: It is forbidden to pack and transport illicit or dangerous products, such as explosive, toxic, flammable, chemical, etc. It is also your duty not take domestic or wild animals without adequate accommodation - safe shipping box, for example. Objects with oversized size or packaging that compromise the comfort, safety and hygiene of the other passengers are prohibited.
Disabled passengers have specific rights
• Identification: International symbols of accessibility must be posted in a visible location to the public, near entrances, parking spaces, toilets, equipment and spaces for exclusive use, etc.
bMust be a regular surface without holes and dimples, very firm, stable, and non-slip, even if it is wet. Gaps should be transformed into ramps and be signaled. Floor tactile signals are indispensable.
• Handrails: Make sure they are installed on both sides of ramps, stairs and isolated steps.
• Getting inside the bus: The bus company staff is responsible for the operation of the transshipment chair.
If your accessibility were limited by noncompliance with the rules by the bus company, or by the bus itself, you can make a formal complaint to ANTT (call 166).
Seniors have special rights in bus travel
• Gratuity: seniors older than 60 years old, earning up to two minimum wages, are entitled to free bus tickets, the so-called "Senior Trip Ticket". The get this ticket it must be requested at least three hours in advance. If after this period the seats reserved for the elderly are not already occupied, the company should still sell them free of charge to people over 60 years.
• Free Ticket Purchase: Both the company's own booth as outsourced sales outlets are required to provide the Senior Trip Ticket.
• Discount: All the seniors are entitled to 50% discount on the value of the ticket In stretches of up to 500km, the elderly should ask the ticket up to six hours before the scheduled departure time. When the path exceed 500km, the advance is not more than twelve hours.
• Proof: To prove age, the passenger older than 60 years old may have any photo ID. In cases of gratuity of the passage, it is essential to present proof of income, such as Work Portfolio and Providence, payment paycheck or document issued by the employer, INSS booklet, INSS payment statement or document / ID card issued by state departments or municipal social assistance. Who does not have proof of income must request the issuance of "Senior Portfolio" in the Municipal Social Assistance or congeners, which are obliged to issue this document.
• Boarding: The elderly passenger must attend the departure terminal up to thirty minutes before the scheduled time in the passage. Delays can make you miss the benefit.