Temporary service variation scope extended in England, Wales

Temporary bus service variation process extended

Scope for operators in England and Wales to use the streamlined temporary service variation procedure introduced at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended to the end of 2021, with a requirement for services in those nations that have been varied under that provision to revert to pre-pandemic timetables by 1 January 2022.

From the same date, the notice period for all service registrations in England and Wales will revert to that required by the relevant legislation, unless a short notice dispensation is granted.

The changes to the temporary service variation mechanism are disclosed in an updated advice note from the Traffic Commissioners (TCs) that was reissued on 12 July. They follow a review that involved representatives of local authorities and operators after the publication of roadmaps out of restrictions in England and Wales. The position in Scotland “will be reviewed shortly.”

The document retains a section relating to occasions when operators have insufficient staff to run the registered service, and whether regulatory action will follow if some services do not operate. It advises that “there is no blanket rule,” but adds that TCs “will take into account the developing situation” thanks to “a flexible approach to the functions carried out by TCs.”