Whilst tachographs, maintenance, or even financial standing issues are typically common reasons leading to Public Inquiry before the Traffic Commissioners, a recent Public Inquiry has highlighted the importance of an operator’s compliance with accessibility regulations, which were introduced for public service vehicle operators under anti-discrimination legislation.
According to reports from the OTC, a recent Public Inquiry, heard before the Traffic Commissioner for the West of England, Kevin Rooney, revealed that a company director would “rather operate non-compliant vehicles than not operate at all”.
Anti-discrimination legislation in the UK and EU provides a positive obligation on bus and coach users to provide suitable arrangements on vehicles for the carriage of disabled passengers. This legislation provides a framework of vehicle design and suitability, including alternative arrangement obligations for some types of passenger vehicle operations and operators must comply with these rules.
This case demonstrates that Traffic Commissioners will take an adverse view from a regulatory perspective regarding operators who chose not to comply with their anti-discrimination obligations. The legislation and associated guidance provides, dependent on the size and nature of the vehicle and the use to which it is being put, some flexibility and also allows some discretion in enforcement – but operators must seek advice and education to understand that before doing their own thing!
Reading the blog from the OTC it appears there were other significant compliance concerns and it may well be that revocation was a result of a matrix of issues rather than this issue alone.
If you have a query regarding the accessibility regulations for public service vehicles or would like to discuss another matter with our road regulatory team, please feel free to contact us on 01254 828 300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Office of the Traffic Commissioner 23 January 2020