DfT ‘disappointed’ to extend PSVAR exemption

An extension to PSVAR exemptions for rail replacement work has been announced. Bus and Coach Buyer understands the exemption runs from 1 January to 30 September 2021 and it follows from an extension previously announced in April.

Commenting on this, a DfT spokesperson said: “This Government is committed to ensuring that disabled people have the same access to transport as everyone else.

“We remain disappointed that fully accessible vehicles cannot yet always be provided for all passengers and recognise that progress has been made over the last year.

“We have reluctantly agreed that coach and bus operators can apply for another short period of special authorisations to allow services to continue to run during the pandemic while we continue to work with the industry on developing longer term solutions.”

The Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, has written to the Rail Delivery Group to make clear he remains disappointed that fully accessible vehicles still cannot always be provided for all passengers using Rail Replacement services. The Rail Minister has set clear expectations on TOCs to source and use PSVAR compliant vehicles wherever possible in the first instance, and only use a non-compliant vehicle that has been granted a special authorisation when all other compliant options have been exhausted. When no PSVAR compliant vehicle is available TOCs must provide alternative accessible transport for disabled passengers that meets the same levels of comforts, safety and timing. It has been ruled that arrangements must be made in advance during planned engineering works to ensure such alternative accessible transport is readily available.

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