Issue details

Passenger Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) and implications for vacant seats scheme and supported college transport

To advise on the implementation of the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) and its implications for home to school and college transport in the county.

From 1 January 2020 school and college students paying a fare must be transported on vehicles compliant with the PSVAR. Although it is the individual operators’ responsibility to ensure compliance with the PSVAR, as the commissioner, the council has a duty to ensure that the services it commissions are operated legally and in accordance with all applicable regulations.

Work with transport providers to ensure compliance with legislation by 1 January 2020 has progressed well and has included providing students with alternative travel options and where possible arranging for contractors to use PSVAR compliant vehicles. In addition the Department for Transport (DfT) has issued a 2 year exemption which can be applied to some non-complaint services. Despite having undertaken this mitigation work, and implementing the DfT exemption, there remains 252 students who do not require accessible transport and who will be travelling on non-compliant services from 1 January 2020.

To allow time for further work to be carried out with transport providers to secure compliance,  approval is sought to cease charging for the spring academic term for home to school transport and post-16 transport on specific council provided services that are not yet compliant with PSVAR.

The implication of the decision recommended in this report is that free travel will be provided for the Spring academic term 2020 for up to 252 students, traveling on 7 transport routes, to 7 different schools and colleges. The students affected come from a range of transport groups:

1.    Post-16 college transport provided to in and out of County students attending Hereford colleges

2.    School aged students traveling to a range of schools around the County using the Council’s school transport vacant seat payment scheme

3.    Denominational transport provided to school age students attending schools based on their religious beliefs

A report advising on longer-term options will be prepared for consideration in January 2020.

Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Wards affected: (All Wards);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 30/10/2019

Decision due: 9 December 2019 by Cabinet member Infrastructure and transport

Lead member: Cabinet member Infrastructure and transport

Lead director: Director of Economy and Place

Department: Economy and Place

Contact: Adam Houchen, Process & Procurement Manager Email: adam.houchen@herefordshire.gov.uk.

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