The government has clearly stated it does not wish to see private hire journeys for leisure purposes operate before step three of the roadmap out of lockdown in England in order to minimise travel.
17 May has been identified as the date private hire coach trips can recommence, and it all appears very clear to me.
However, I found it concerning that some trade associations have provided advice that private hire coach trips meeting the characteristics of scheduled services will fit within the current guidance and can essentially be operated prior to 17 May.
I am not sure what point those associations are trying to make.
It is clear in law that private hire trips can never be classed as a local bus service if the terms of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 are met, and it is equally clear that tours and excursions are not included under the definition of a scheduled service if the terms contained within PSVAR are followed.
To me, a scheduled service is exactly what it says on the tin; they are services that are scheduled in order to carry paying passengers from point A to point B. They are not what we class as private hire or day trips; these are legally classed as tours or excursions, and it is not legally possible to operate these as scheduled services.
Check part two: ‘Application of regulations, exemptions and recognition’ of PSVAR for clarity of the definition.
The law states coach tours or excursions are not scheduled services, so I continue to wonder what the purpose of some recent press releases was.
Gary Clark, Wokingham