The coach and bus industry has continued to punch above its weight in its representation in DVSA’s Earned Recognition (ER) scheme.

Of 288 total ER members, 65 – or 22.6% – hold PSV O-Licences. That is despite the passenger sector accounting for only 10.1% of all O-Licences in issue, according to the most recent data in the Traffic Commissioners’ Annual Report for 2018-19.

Businesses from across the PSV industry are represented in ER, from members of large bus groups Arriva, First and Stagecoach to small coach operators. Several of the latter were founder members of the scheme when it was launched in April 2018. Many others have joined in the meantime.

Membership of ER allows operators to demonstrate that they observe high levels of compliance. The joining process requires them to prove that they have digital compliance management systems in place and to undergo an audit by a DVSA-approved auditor. The audit process must be repeated every two years after becoming a member.

KPIs are then tracked and a report is sent to DVSA on a four-weekly basis if they are missed. DVSA does not have access to the operator’s data or systems.

In return, benefits include the operator’s vehicles being less likely to be subject to roadside enforcement activities and enforcement staff being less likely visit its premises. The ER marque may also be used on websites and other publicity materials.

The most recent entrant to ER is KB Coaches of Stonehouse. It was accredited on 21 May. Managing Director Andy Francis says that where an operator’s compliance systems are already to a high standard, little change is required to become part of the scheme.

“Earned Recognition is something that the entire industry should aim for. The standards it requires are mostly part of the conditions of an O-Licence anyway,” adds Mr Francis.