Coach travel would be more accessible if Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) focused on journeys rather than vehicles, says RHA Coach.
Coaches with more than 22 passenger seats which come within the definition of a ‘regulated public service vehicle’ – and used on a service deemed in scope of PSVAR – should be compliant. But RHA Coach has urged ministers to amend the regulations to focus on access to journeys rather than vehicles. This would offer greater inclusivity much quicker than if they relied on every vehicle being accessible, the trade body said.
It went on to say that where it is known that accessibility isn’t required, operators shouldn’t have to provide an accessible vehicle. RHA Coach believes this is still achievable within the spirit of the Equality Act 2010.
RHA Coach said: “It’s clear there’s an appetite to extend the scope of inclusivity for coach services. This would achieve that, and the requirement to take reasonable steps to offer 100% accessible journeys should take that into account. We’d recommend it is phased in over the five years after an upcoming Government PSVAR review.”
Andy Warrender, RHA Coach Operations Manager added: “PSVAR is well-meaning legislation but it doesn’t achieve what it’s been set out to do. It’s long been recognised that the focus on the vehicle largely ignores other elements to make journeys 100% accessible.
“Ministers will be reviewing the regulations shortly. We urge them to amend the regulations to focus on the journey rather than the vehicle to make coach travel more accessible.”
RHA Coach said it is working with its members to devise ‘an industry-led solution to the PSVAR conundrum which has dogged the industry for more than 20 years.’