The UK Coach Operators Association (UKCOA) has reported that its discussion with the Department for Transport (DfT) over PSVAR in coaches and a need for a further exemption from the Regulations for home-to-school services was “largely positive,” adding that there are signs that DfT “is learning all the time” about the sector.
UKCOA, alongside at least the Confederation of Passenger Transport and RHA, each separately met DfT officials on 14 June. Managing Director Peter Bradley subsequently told UKCOA members that “it is clear that DfT officials are trying to find a solution” to the need for a further exemption for home-to-school. He adds that those officials are also mindful of the timeframe constraints that are in play and the need for clarity.
“They are keenly aware that time is running out and that this is causing real issues for both the coach industry and schools,” says Mr Bradley.
Speaking to routeone, he adds that there is also now an improved understanding at DfT of both the industry’s diverse nature and that many operators have seen their cash reserves wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes it difficult for them to invest in either new vehicles or the retrofit of existing fleet members to achieve compliance.
At UKCOA’s meeting with DfT officials, Mr Bradley also made the point that a lack of wider clarity around future driveline technologies must be considered as integral to long-term government policy for PSVAR in coaches.
He says that the Regulations should not be treated “in isolation” and that they must be considered alongside the scale of investment required to purchase new compliant vehicles. “For operators to do that they must be sure of the coach’s life and its resale value. DfT understands that.”