Baroness Vere gives update on coach PSVAR exemptions

We’ve received a letter from Roads Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton, about the provision of vehicles not compliant with Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) on services in scope of these regulations. 

Josh Reynolds

Josh Reynolds | 7th July 2021 1:58 PM

The letter, which you can read here, is in advance of the expiry of the Special Authorisation for non-compliant vehicles at the end of July 2021.

PSVAR is intended to increase access to coaches and other transport for people with disabilities. The coach industry has made significant progress in offering an inclusive, and Baroness Vere is very clear about working towards even greater inclusivity in the future.

We’re encouraging all our members to make sure that their vehicles comply with the legislation as soon as they’re able, rather than waiting, to avoid being caught out.

A key point of the letter refers to the potential for further exemption from the Regulations for a limited period to 31 March 2022, and the need to progress towards accessibility beyond that date:
Operators can apply for exemptions (Special Authorisations) to the PSVAR for vehicles they wish to use in the immediate future, which are not compliant, and which will be valid until 31 March 2022.
Operators require this should email DfT at: hometoschoolexemptions@dft.gov.uk requesting to apply for exemptions.

Beyond 31 March 2022, further exemptions will be considered on the basis of progressively moving towards a state of compliance.

This may not immediately include wheelchair access (Schedule 1), but could include compliance with the general accessibility requirements (schedule 3) – hand poles, priority seating, destination displays etc.

Operators may be required to provide full accessibility on a proportion of their fleet to qualify for exemptions on the remainder.

The letter from Baroness Vere also confirms that DfT officials will work with us, other key stakeholders and the devolved administrations to develop plans for further exemptions beyond 31 March 2022.

They will also explore the possibilities for improving accessibility to high-floor coaches. We’re already engaged in this process and will involve members further in the next few weeks.

With the immediate future now confirmed and a pathway beyond that more clearly identified, we will now press ahead to further consult with members and finalise our proposals for consideration in the review of PSVAR that Government has committed to.

The longer term, there will be a need for a greater degree of access to inclusive coach services, and RHA members have contributed to the thinking behind our proposals.

Read the letter from Baroness Vere here.