PSVAR changes: a call for evidence

The Department for Transport is to review the PSVAR regulation 2000, and has called for evidence from coach and bus operators.

The Call for Evidence explains that the UK wants to meet the objectives of UNECE Regulation 107, which aims to unify minimum accessibility standards for buses and coaches built in the UK, EU, USA and Japan: ‘The Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU prevents the UK from introducing domestic standards which could make vehicles manufactured internationally to the requirements of UN 107 less commercially attractive in our market.’ Only route and destination displays are not regulated by UN 107

The CfE focuses on six topics: The application of PSVAR and vehicles in scope; Accessibility features of PSVs and whether they meet passenger need; Approaches to regulation, and whether specifications are too exacting; Decarbonisation and its effect on accessibility; Enforcement of PSVAR, and how compliance can be improved; and Roadside infrastructure, and how it meets the needs of accessibility equipment.

Call for evidence welcomed

The RHA has welcomed the Government’s call for evidence on PSVAR.

Department for Transport has launched a Review of the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR).

A statement from RHA said: “Coach operators continue to support efforts to make passenger journeys inclusive, but there are widespread concerns that the underlying rationale driving the PSVAR review is flawed.

“Firms have long argued that the regulations overlook the roadside infrastructure improvements needed to make coach and bus travel fully accessible. Instead, the regulations are focused on vehicle design which fails to take into account other factors needed to make the journey inclusive.

“A lack of physical infrastructure at non-scheduled pick-up spots like rural roads or remote locations means that coach travel can’t always be fully inclusive even when operators lay on accessible vehicles.

“We therefore strongly advocate that the emphasis is shifted from the vehicle to the customer and their journey.

“We’re calling for regulations to be changed so that operators have a legal responsibility to offer appropriately accessible vehicles when they are needed, rather than it being mandated that all coaches are 100% accessible.”

The Confederation of Passenger Transport also welcomed the CfE. Keith McNally, CPT’s Operations Director said: “Now is the ideal time to consider what happens when the Medium-Term Exemptions for PSVAR end in 2026. As the trusted voice of the coach sector, we are pleased to be responding to the DfT’s call for evidence on behalf of our members.”

The key principles that our Coach Commission has agreed are:

  • All ‘open-door’ services would be required to comply – in effect, the situation as it is now, were the exemptions not in place
  • All ‘closed-door’ regular services (school and other services where the passengers are known in advance) required to comply where a passenger has an accessibility need (i.e. ‘on demand’)
  • The payment of ‘separate fares’ shouldn’t be a factor in determining whether a service is ‘in scope’ or not

However, the Call for Evidence goes to the very heart of the Regulations and covers bus as well as coach. CPT looks forward to responding to DfT’s call and working through the detailed questions with members.”

  • The CfE takes the form of a series of questions, including specific questions about the accessibility features of coaches. For a full explanation of the CfE click here
  • On how to respond to the online form, click here

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