The Department for Transport (DfT) introduced the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) on 31 December 2010. These regulations apply to England, Scotland and Wales (Northern Ireland has introduced separate regulations).
They require all buses and coaches used as public service vehicles to be fully accessible from 1 January 2020 – ie. to incorporate features to enable disabled people to travel on them comfortably and safely, including a wheelchair space and a ramp or lift. This includes vehicles used for home-to-school transport, whether or not those buses also carry paying passengers.
The DfT has realised that many buses used in this way are not yet fully compliant, but that removing them from service on 1 January 2020 would cause significant issues for schools.
They are therefore enabling providers of these services to apply for a two-year exemption to these regulations, to run until 31 December 2021. For the exemption certificates to be issued by the 31 December 2019, valid applications must be received by 13 December 2019
. Any applications received after this date, including corrections or requests for additional exemptions, will be processed as quickly as possible following those received by the 13 December deadline. This letter from the DfT
explains the proposed exemption in more detail.
We strongly recommend that you contact your transport provider or local authority to ensure that services you procure or that you directly provide are compliant and if necessary, make an application for an exemption. If you have any questions or queries regarding these regulations you can contact HomeToSchoolExemptions@dft.gov.uk