Further to the Department for Transport's (DfT) announcement in December 2019
that providers of buses and coaches used as public service vehicles can apply for a two year exemption, the DfT has provided an update and notification of an offer of further exemption from PSVAR for home-to-school services.
A spokesperson for the DfT said:
“We know however that, in the time since the previous exemption offers, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the ability of coach operators to invest in new or retrofitted vehicles compliant with PSVAR and that few will be able to provide home-to-school services using compliant vehicles when schools and colleges reopen.
The Government has also asked local authorities to increase the provision of dedicated home-to-school transport in order to relieve pressure on local bus networks as classes resume, and know that without a further exemption this is unlikely to be possible. It is for this reason that we have decided to offer a further exemption from PSVAR for home-to-school services which are available only to the pupils and staff of the schools and colleges served, for one academic year, until the 31st July 2021
To be eligible to be covered by an exemption certificate a vehicle must be Operating a service in England, Scotland and/or Wales, to or from one or more educational establishments, for the carriage of one or more of the following persons, but no others:
i. a person receiving primary, secondary or further education or training at that establishment;
ii. a person supervising or escorting any such person while they are using such transport; or
iii. a person involved with the provision of education or training at that establishment.
Exemption certificates will be issued on a case-by-case basis, based on applications submitted to the DfT.
Application Process for Group 2 Operators
Group 2 operators are those that did not apply successfully for Exemption 2, covering school and college arranged services.
Group 2 operators wishing to apply for this new exemption should email HomeToSchoolExemptions@dft.gov.uk
with “HTS3 Exemption Application Form Request” in the subject line. Group 1 operators are those which applied successfully for Exemption 2, the exemption for school and college arranged services which expires on the 31st July.
Such operators have been contacted directly by the Department and should follow the application instructions in that email, disregarding this message. The DfT will respond to requests for application forms as quickly as possible, but please be aware that they are anticipating a high level of interest.