Driver CPC and PSVAR: DfT must get policy work into order

Driver CPC and PSVAR policy conflict at DfT

News that the government will carry out what it terms a “sweeping review” of the Driver CPC (DCPC) system landed on Monday 8 November.

In some ways that is years overdue. While many operators have tailored courses to suit what they need of staff, nothing requires them do so. Hence, a PSV driver can legitimately spend 35 hours learning about things that have no relevance to their circumstances and be considered qualified.

More details of the review followed relatively quickly. The same cannot be said for Under-Secretary of State for Transport Baroness Vere’s letter to trade bodies concerning the application of PSVAR in the coach sector from April 2022.

The issue there is that Lady Vere’s missive was sent over four months ago. No more information has been forthcoming, and anything announced in the meantime will be subject to consultation. Time is ticking for any vehicle alterations that are necessary to comply with ‘PSVAR lite’ to be made, the caveat about “unless some cannot reasonably be complied with” notwithstanding.

One line of thought is that the expiry date of exemptions for home-to-school services will be brought into line with those for the same in rail replacement. They end on 30 June 2022.

Trade bodies, like coach operators, are clamouring for clarity on the government’s PSVAR approach. While the DCPC review has been tentatively welcomed, completing existing policy workstreams before embarking on others that may bring significant change must not be overlooked by ministers.