The full implementation of the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) for buses and coaches carrying out rail replacement services has now been extended until 31 December 2020.
Earlier this year, Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State for Transport, wrote to the Rail Delivery Group extending the period for which buses and coaches performing rail replacement services had to become compliant with PSVAR until 30 April 2020.
Chris Heaton-Harris has now written a further letter, extending that period yet again, until the end of this year.
The letter outlines the provisions of this extension and provides operators with a further eight months to become compliant with the accessibility regulations.
During this extension period any operators providing rail replacement services can apply for special authorisations under section 178 of the Equality Act 2010. This is important as the relaxation can only be used where the specific vehicle concerned has received a special authorisation. So, each operator MUST make this s178 application for each vehicle that they wish to use which is non-compliant with the PSVAR on rail replacement work. If they use a vehicle which is non-compliant, and they have not applied for special authorisation, they will commit a breach of the PSVAR regulations, which is an offence under the Equality Act and could also affect the operator’s good repute with the Traffic Commissioner.
Backhouse Jones can assist with those applications (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The letter does state however, that PSVAR compliant vehicles must be used in the first instance wherever possible and only as a last resort should a non-compliant vehicle with a special authorisation be used.
Additionally, when a non-compliant vehicle is being used, alternative accessible transport must be provided for disabled passengers which provides the same levels of service as is provided for non-disabled passengers.
A copy of the Minister of State’s letter can be found here.
For further guidance on PSVAR contact a member of our Regulatory Team on 01254 828300 or email email@example.com