Further PSVAR derogations announced

Baroness Vere has issued a letter outlining further derogations to PSVAR.

The DfT is to consider applications for temporary exemptions from PSVAR from August 2021 until 31 March 2022 for home to school services.

There are plans by DfT officials for medium term exemptions from 1 April 2022. These are to be available to operators who can demonstrate the steps they have taken to provide compliant services. This could include exemptions for the wheelchair requirements and possibly other aspects of PSVAR compliance, such as destination equipment, if it can be demonstrated it cannot be reasonably complied with within the time available. Operators may also be expected to operate a minimum number of fully-compliant vehicles in order to be eligible for any exemption.

A review of PSVAR for buses and coaches is underway, due to be completed by the end of 2023.

The arrangements for rail replacement services are being communicated separately though the Rail Delivery Group.

“This is a pragmatic way forward” – UKCOA Managing Director, Peter Bradley

UKCOA Managing Director, Peter Bradley, told Bus and Coach Buyer: “This is a pragmatic way forward. It balances the needs of the industry and it takes into account we have been through a hard time.

“The extension of the derogation through to the end of March 2022 is a fair compromise. I think even a few months ago we would not have got that reaction.

“We are really keen to continue working with the DfT. It is very important for us that our members’ views are taken into account. We believe an even better relationship with the DfT has been built.”

“These exemptions should also reward those who have already invested in PSVAR-compliant vehicles” – CPT Chief Executive, Graham Vidler

CPT, Chief Executive, Graham Vidler, said: “The confirmation of a further exemption for home to school services ensures operators can continue to provide home to school transport across the country.

“It is now important that the Department for Transport works urgently with the industry to develop medium term exemptions so that operators can make appropriate investments over the coming months. These exemptions should also reward those who have already invested in PSVAR-compliant vehicles.

“The pandemic has significantly limited operators’ ability to invest and any long-term arrangements to bring all coach services into scope must be forward looking, avoiding the need for costly retrofit of coaches bought in good faith. We look forward to working with officials and ministers to develop their proposals further as well as alongside the industry to develop improved ways of delivering the inclusive travel which the industry wholeheartedly supports.”

  • To apply for special authorisation from August 2021 onwards, allowing non-PSVAR coaches foir home to school transport, email [email protected]

BCB’s Editor, Mark Williams, offers the opinion that the concept of PSVAR for coaches itself is flawed – HERE

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