RHA will publish a set of recommendations for a long-term resolution to PSVAR for coaches “shortly.” The trade body intends that it will support operators and other parties in ensuring that coach journeys are accessible, adding that “our industry is committed to full accessibility.”
RHA revealed news of its forthcoming policy paper soon after being one of at least three trade associations representing the coach industry that met separately with Department for Transport (DfT) officials on Monday 14 June. Those discussions centred on PSVAR in the sector and the pressing need for clarity on the status of home-to-school services once their current exemption from the Regulations expires on 31 July.
The trade association says that it “reinforced the message” that if a further exemption is not issued, more buses could be deployed onto home-to-school services owing to insufficient compliant coaches being available. That would be “inappropriate in most circumstances,” RHA adds.
The trade body has also underlined earlier comments made by Operations Manager – Coaches Andy Warrender about a need to extend the focus of PSVAR to capture other elements of the overall journey. At its meeting with DfT, RHA “stressed that we cannot achieve that through coach design alone. The right passenger embarking infrastructure plays a key role in making journeys accessible.”
RHA has additionally pledged its support to help develop a roadmap that addresses issues faced by the coach industry, including PSVAR, post-COVID-19 recovery and decarbonisation.
All three trade bodies representing the sector – the Confederation of Passenger Transport, RHA and the UK Coach Operators Association – have now publicly signalled their support for a move towards eventual full accessibility.