DfT sees merit in PSVAR proposals, says CPT
CPT has said the DfT has seen ‘merit’ in the trade body’s proposals on PSVAR. CPT and other bus and coach industry trade bodies have met this week with the Government body to discuss PSVAR.
CPT CEO, Graham Vidler and Operations Director, Keith McNally, met with senior DfT officials to discuss the issue. The pair pressed for an early decision regarding the position post-July when the current home-to-school special authorisations end. It is understood that Ministers are now actively considering the options. They also reiterated the difficulties relating to infrastructure to enable the use of external wheelchair lifts and outlined its initial discussions with the PSVAR Working Group that is examining longer-term solutions.
CPT’s proposal on PSVAR is made up of four key elements:
- Any system allowing parents to apply for in scope HTS transport should make clear that children with accessibility needs have the option of travelling on a PSVAR compliant vehicle with their peers.
- A guarantee that any child requiring the facilities of a PSVAR vehicle on an in scope HTS journey would be supplied with a compliant vehicle to travel with their peers.
- All coaches registered from a date to be agreed with Department for Transport would be required to comply with PSVAR standards, regardless of intended use.
- A requirement that services currently contracted with a PSVAR compliant vehicle could not revert to non-compliant operation.
The DfT officials reiterated the Government body’s desire to increase accessibility, with CPT agreeing to continue working with the Government and other stakeholders to deliver this in a way it says is manageable and fair for operators.
These latest discussions are part of CPT’s ongoing conversations with the Government over PSVAR.
“The Department has acknowledged that it sees merit in the CPT proposal” – Keith McNally, CPT Operations Director
Keith McNally said: “The Department has acknowledged that it sees merit in the CPT proposal and views it as a positive contribution to finding a solution to the current challenge. We believe that an announcement is still at least a couple of weeks away but officials have committed to continuing to keep us updated.”
The CPT may soon gather more information from members to help inform the advice going to Ministers.