DfT introduces further PSVAR exemption for rail replacement

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £2.99.

Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Minister of State for Transport, has written to the Rail Delivery Group to congratulate it on a providing a Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) compliance rate of 94% for both planned and unplanned services between May and July 2021.
However, to give officials and the industry time to continue delivering a more robust long-term solution to the issue of ensuring that public service vehicles are accessible for all passengers, he said: “I have agreed to allow coach and bus operators who provide rail replacement services, to apply for strictly time-limited special authorisations pursuant to s.178 of the Equality Act 2010 for a period of up to 9 months from 1 October 2021 to 30 June 2022. This period will cover the period for home-to-school Special Authorisations which ends 31 March 2022 and will ensure that Special Authorisations are in place for the Easter, May Day and Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee bank holidays in 2022. I recognise the efforts that the industry has made to introduce other measures to ensure accessibility for disabled passengers.”

Train Operating Companies (TOCs) must continue to source and use PSVAR compliant vehicles wherever possible in the first instance, and only use a non-compliant vehicle that has been granted a special authorisation when all other compliant options have been exhausted.
The Government is currently reviewing the PSVAR regulations and aiming to deliver a medium-term solution by mid-2022.