The Traffic Commissioners have updated their advice for operators during the Covid-19 pandemic with particular reference to information about requesting temporary variations to local bus services ahead of a return to normal services as lockdown restrictions ease.

Response to Covid-19: Operator Licensing, Local Bus Service Registration and Vocational Driver Conduct can be found at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/894382/200623_Advice_Note_v6_.pdf.

With regard to local bus service registrations, the updated guidance looks at situations where operators are unable to run their registered services or wish to urgently register new services to assist in the transportation of essential workers.

It stresses that, in all cases where short notice dispensation is being requested, the operator must provide detail of the grounds that it is being applied under and the justification.

In order to enable the Commissioner’s staff to correctly identify the service as quickly as possible, all emails must contain: the operator licence number; the full service registration number; and the route service number.

Operators are encouraged to make use of the provision to temporarily vary a service registration by either not running it for a period of time, changing the frequency of the timetable or altering the route.

Given the exceptional circumstances that operators are experiencing the traffic, Commissioners have decided to waive the fee for all applications that seek to temporarily vary a local bus registration.

This is on condition that the service is intended to return to the same timetable that was previously registered in March 2020 by the extended date of 30 September 2020 (31 August 2020 in Scotland).

The guidance also considers the position where an operator, for reasons connected with the coronavirus epidemic, might not have the required number of staff to operate a service.

While there is no blanket rule to cover this possibility, the Traffic Commissioners will take into account the developing situation and are allowed to adopt a flexible approach.

Last reviewed 25 June 2020