Last reviewed 6 October 2021

Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris has written to the Rail Delivery Group about the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) 2000 and their application to rail replacement services.

In the letter, which can be found at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, he congratulates the Group and its members for maintaining the high levels of compliance that were achieved in the latest reported period.

“Whilst I understand that the figures are high partly due to the impact of the pandemic, as stated in my previous letters to you, it is important that as numbers return to the railway, you continue to do everything you can to ensure that these high levels are maintained,” the Minister said.

He then goes to assess how customers should be assisted in completing their journey should rail replacement services (RRS) be in place.

Noting that the current period of Special Authorisations ended on 30 September, Mr Heaton-Harris confirms that he has agreed to allow coach and bus operators who provide RRS, to apply for strictly time-limited special authorisations (pursuant to s. 178 of the Equality Act 2010) for a period of up to nine months from 1 October 2021 to 30 June 2022.

This period will cover the period for home-to-school special authorisations which ends 31 March 2022 and will ensure that special authorisations are in place for the Easter, May Day and Queen’s Jubilee bank holidays in 2022.

“I recognise the efforts that the industry has made to introduce other measures to ensure accessibility for disabled passengers and I believe that this extension will give my officials and the industry time to continue to deliver the more robust long-term solution to this issue,” the letter states.