By Lucy Cockcroft
Bus passengers who travel along a route of more than 30 miles must get off the vehicle midway through their journey to comply with new EU laws.
The Brussels ruling dictates that drivers must pull over and let everyone off their bus after 30 miles, to ensure they do not spend too long behind the wheel.
Western Greyhound, a bus company operating in rural Devon and Cornwall, is among those affected.
Its Newquay to Plymouth route has been split in three, even though a single driver is used for the entire distance.
The driver is obliged to pull over and ask everyone to get off before the route number on the front of the vehicle is changed, and all the passengers are invited back on board.
Passengers have been told they must buy three tickets to complete the route, and they must also break their journey twice.
Western Greyhound managing director Mark Howarth said: “It’s a farce. We have to kick customers off as soon as the driver hits the 30-mile limit.
“Often it’s in the middle of nowhere. The passengers think we are crazy.
“We’re caught up in something aimed at long-distance truckers.”
Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker has written to Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly asking that bus companies are able to opt-out of the law.
He said: “These rules don’t stop buses running more than 30 miles.
“All they do is inconvenience the passengers who have to keep getting on and off. It’s like an Ealing comedy.”
Long-distance coach journeys are exempt from the law.