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Senior Traffic Commissioner updates COVID-19 Advice for Operators

09 November

On 6 November 2020, Senior Traffic Commissioner Richard Turfitt has issued a further updated version of the Traffic Commissioners’ “Response to COVID-19 – Operator Licensing, Local Bus Service Registration and Vocational Driver Conduct” Advice for Operators document.

The main update relates to local bus service registrations

There are also updates to:

  • Question 7 of the Advice, which clarify when a vehicle is off the road during periods of lockdown for the purposes of maintenance; and
  • recognise the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (or ‘furlough’ scheme) to the end of March 2021.

Local Bus Service Registrations – Short Notice Temporary Variations

Due to the ongoing uncertainty and inevitable challenges operators face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the provisions allowing short notice temporary variations to local bus service registrations will now continue beyond 4 January 2021.  This will be reviewed again on 1 March 2021 but operators and local authorities will be given no less than 84 days’ notice of the date that services must revert to the original registration (which will therefore be no earlier than 24 May 2021).  This notice will give operators the opportunity to submit any permanent changes they wish to make.

Operators should, however, note that, from 4 January 2021, the notice period for temporary variations in England and Scotland will increase from the current 72 hours to 7 days.  The local authority will have a period of 7 calendar days to consider the application, following which (in the absence of any objections from the local authority or any request for further time) the Traffic Commissioner will give immediate short notice approval.  Unless notified otherwise, the operator can expect that the temporary variation can come into force following a 28 calendar day period in addition to the 7 calendar day local authority period. This results in a total registration time of 35 calendar days, reduced from the maximum 70 statutory days’ notice.

Also, from 4 January 2021, the £60 fee for temporary variations will be reinstated.

The Senior Traffic Commissioner’s Advice Note for Operators can be accessed by clicking here.

For further information, contact our Regulatory team on regulatory@backhouses.co.uk or 01254 828300.

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