Trade bodies the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) and RHA have each said independently that private hire coach day trips and excursions in England with more than one family group aboard can continue to operate. That is despite controversial Cabinet Office guidance that apparently precludes such a restart until 17 May.
RHA has strongly criticised the Cabinet Office guidance. It describes the document as “confusing and contradictory.” RHA adds it “flies in the face” of the established view that safer transport guidance (STG) published by the Department for Transport (DfT), which permits those services to continue to operate, takes precedence.
RHA has asked DfT for clarity on that matter. However, at a meeting involving Under-Secretary of State for Transport Baroness Vere and trade body representatives on 15 April, Lady Vere claimed that the Cabinet Office guidance “trumps” anything else, including STG.
RHA adds: “In the absence of anything to confirm a change, or that any other guidance overrules [STG], it is our view that trips booked to depart in the next few weeks can continue to do so.”
On 21 April, CPT advised its members that after discussion with officials, coach day trips and excursions in England that “share the characteristics of scheduled services” will fit within the Cabinet Office guidance and can continue to operate. Those characteristics include scheduled timings and pre-arranged pick-up and drop-offs.
CPT adds that such a service would be interpreted as fulfilling a public transport function. “Day trips meeting this definition are therefore permissible,” the Confederation says. It notes that many venues and attractions may not accept coach groups, however.
RHA’s opinion is that such an approach is “perfectly feasible,” but it cautions that coach day trips and excursions operated in such a way may fall within scope of PSVAR.