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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/accessible-buses-and-coaches/bus-and-coach-accessibility-and-the-public-service-vehicle-accessibility-regulations-2000
The Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) applies to all new public service vehicles (buses or coaches):
- introduced since 31 December 2000
- with a capacity exceeding 22 passengers
- used to provide a local or scheduled service
Where PSVAR applies
PSVAR applies in England, Scotland and Wales and are the responsibility of the Department for Transport. Northern Ireland has introduced separate regulations. These are the responsibility of the Department for Regional Development.
All full size single deck buses over 7.5 tonnes will be fully accessible from 1 January 2016, and all double deck buses from 1 January 2017.
New buses weighing up to 7.5 tonnes and coaches have been required to have wheelchair access from 1 January 2005.
All buses weighing up to 7.5 tonnes have been required to be fully accessible from 1 January 2015 and coaches will be fully accessible from 1 January 2020.
The Department for Transport provides the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) with a specific fund to enforce the requirements outlined in the PSVAR. We work with DVSA colleagues to ensure that PSVAR compliance is monitored closely and that any bus or coach operator found to be in breach of these regulations is dealt with accordingly. Non-compliance with PSVAR is a criminal offence (under Section 40(3) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and carries a fine not exceeding Level 4 on the standard scale (currently £2,500).
Improved bus access for disabled people
The powers in part 5 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) allow the government to make regulations requiring all new land-based public transport vehicles (trains, taxis, buses and coaches) to be accessible to disabled people, including those who need to remain in wheelchairs.
The regulations that govern access to service buses and coaches are known as the PSVAR. The PSVAR have been applied to all new buses and coaches which carry more than 22 passengers and are used on local or scheduled services since 31 December 2000.
Information about how we are making other forms of transport accessible.
Low floor buses
In recent years low floor buses have been introduced in increasing numbers. This change was promoted both by the Department for Transport, through a series of research and demonstration projects, and by our statutory advisers, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC).
The PSVAR do allow for high floor vehicles, but bus operators and manufacturers of full size single deck and double deck buses have, by and large, opted for low floor vehicles.
Over one third of full size local buses are now low floor vehicles rising to over 80% in major urban areas. 90% of the London fleet comprises low floor vehicles.
Assistance from bus drivers for disabled people boarding
The Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers (Amendment) Regulations 2002 have since 1 October 2002 required the bus driver or conductor to provide reasonable assistance to disabled people, including wheelchair users, to board and alight.
These regulations only apply to vehicles which are regulated under the PSVAR, but we strongly recommend that bus operators adopt those practices for all their accessible buses.
We have produced guidance to help both manufacturers and operators and drivers to understand their new duties. There is also an NVQ module covering disability awareness training for bus drivers introduced by GoSkills (the Sector Skills Council for Passenger Transport).
It’s clearly in the best interests both of the bus driver and the passenger if the driver is fully aware of the needs of his disabled passengers and how to respond to them. However, the regulations do allow the driver to refuse to help you if doing so would adversely affect his health or safety, your safety or that of other passengers or the safety of the vehicle.
Wheelchair suitability for buses
The Department for Transport commissioned Ricability to produce a guide, Wheels within Wheels, which outlines what wheelchair users can expect from newer trains, coaches, buses and taxis. It has information on how passengers can find out where accessible services are running and gives tips on travelling in a wheelchair. It also lists the key dimensions of the wheelchairs currently available in the United Kingdom, and which of those will fit onto public transport.
Electric scooters on buses or coaches
None of the regulations for buses or coaches deal with the carriage of scooters. This is because scooters are outdoor vehicles intended for use as an alternative to public transport for short trips. They are generally less manoeuvrable than wheelchairs and cannot be used as a seat on a vehicle because of their instability and difficulty in providing appropriate restraint systems for the both the scooter and the user.
You should contact the appropriate bus operating company or, in the case of London, Transport for London.
If this does not prove satisfactory, then you can contact Bus Users UK, an independent body set up to ensure bus passengers have a voice with the industry. Scotland has its own Bus Users Complaints Tribunal or, for transport in London, the London Transport Users Committee.
Coaches on leisure trips
PSVAR only applies to new public service vehicles with a carrying capacity of more than 22 passengers that are used on local or scheduled services and have been introduced into service since 31 December 2000. Proposals for access to other services and for small vehicles (with 22 passengers or fewer) will be subject to further consideration and consultation.
Audible and visible announcements on buses
Trials of audible and visual announcements on buses in Leeds during 2001 showed that their introduction on buses, whilst well received by passengers, did present some technical challenges. We are monitoring the progress of new technologies designed to address these issues and regularly review how best to ensure the wider adoption of such systems within the UK bus fleet.
Bus accessibility guidance
The regulations that govern access to service buses and coached are known as the PSVAR. The regulations apply to all new buses and coaches introduced into service since 31 December 2000 with a capacity of more than 22 passengers and used on local or scheduled services.
We have published for vehicle manufacturers and operators to assist in meeting the regulations. Please note, however, that the guidance does not replace nor does it qualify the regulations in any way, and in every case reference should be made to the relevant provisions of the PSVAR themselves to determine the precise extent of the legal requirements.
Under Section 43 of the DDA 1995 the Secretary of State may authorise, by means of a special authorisation order, the use of a regulated public service vehicle which does not comply with accessibility regulations. It’s important to note that a vehicle which does not meet all of the requirements of the accessibility regulations cannot be issued with an accessibility certificate.
Before a special authorisatioin order is issued it will normally be necessary for a full accessibility inspection to be carried out. A vehicle will have to comply fully with accessibility regulations apart from those items for which a special authorisation is granted.
Detailed guidance on applying for special authorisation orders has been produced. Manufacturers and operators are advised to read this before submitting an application for a special authorisation order.
There is a dedicated Sector Skills Council for passenger transport. GoSkills is the recognised authority for business working in the UK passenger transport sector and it aims to increase skills and identify specific training solutions for the industry.
GoSkills facilitates a range of training courses from introductory to National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). More information about the range of courses it offers is available here: www.goskills.org/
The NVQ course for bus drivers includes a video called ‘We can do that’. The video, produced in conjunction with the department in 2004, is available direct fromGoSkills as a DVD, video or CD-ROM and costs £10.