The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) has revealed its position on the accessibility of coach services.
The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) believes that coach travel, like all other forms of public transport, should be accessible to disabled people. Indeed, there are good economic reasons for the industry to maximise the accessibility of services, as the age group who travel the most miles by coach is the over-70s, a growing age group with the highest levels of disability.
DPTAC was pleased that, when the Public Service Vehicle Access Regulations (PSVAR) were extended to cover coaches, the main providers of scheduled services moved quite rapidly to use compliant vehicles. It was our hope that once these coaches had reached the end of their life in providing scheduled services, they would enter the secondhand market and contribute to wider accessibility in the overall coach market. Ideally, this would stimulate increased demand for PSVAR-compliant coaches, with operators choosing to purchase more vehicles.
Regrettably, this appears not to have been the case. In a number of instances, accessibility features required for PSVAR have been removed when vehicles are no longer used on scheduled services. According to data gathered by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), there are only 600 PSVAR compliant coaches available in the ‘for-hire’ sector out of more than 25,000 vehicles currently in commercial use.
DPTAC is disappointed that the ‘for-hire’ coach sector is out of step with the rest of the transport industry in its reluctance to meet the needs of disabled passengers. For a variety of reasons relating to the economics of the industry, as well as the lack of regulatory pressure, the industry appears to have made no significant effort to improve accessibility. Government intervention is now essential to drive change.
To read DPTAC's full statement, click here.