A letter concerning PSVAR sent to trade bodies representing the coach industry by Under-Secretary of State for Transport Baroness Vere “gives a way forward” for the difficult issue, the UK Coach Operators Association (UKCOA) says.
Managing Director Peter Bradley views the communication – which indicates that the requirement to comply with PSVAR will eventually extend to private hire and tour work – as “pragmatic.” However, the industry must be consulted as part of a review of the Regulations that the government committed to in March and which it seems will consider that extension. That work is set for completion by the end of 2023.
Key is that any changes to vehicle specifications, and additional services that are brought into scope of PSVAR, must be applied only to new coaches and not existing models, Mr Bradley explains.
“It must be the case that coaches that meet PSVAR now will not need to be modified to satisfy changes that come out of the review. But we would support a requirement for all coaches that are new after a defined date to be compliant with any overhauled Regulations.”
UKCOA also supports a likely requirement that all coaches used on rail replacement or in-scope home-to-school services comply with Schedule 3 of PSVAR from April 2022. Such a development – raised by Lady Vere – would entail relatively minor changes to non-compliant models and not the fitment of a wheelchair lift.
The Association advocates that vehicle manufacturers are involved in the PSVAR review. It wants to see them make lifts a more integrated part of coaches; that lifts become easier to use where space is constrained; and that lifts become suitable for all disabled passengers, and not just those that are in wheelchairs.
Read the letter from Lady Vere to UKCOA, the Confederation of Passenger Transport and RHA here.