On 1 January 2020, the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) came into effect.
These regulations relate to the Disability Discrimination Act 2010 and apply to any vehicles that are designed to carry more than twenty two passengers, to incorporate features to enable disabled people to travel on them comfortably and safety, including a wheelchair space and a ramp or lift.
Suffolk County Council is therefore unable to sell spare seats on a vehicle that is not PVSAR 2000 compliant unless the contract the local authority has an approved exemption for an existing route from the Department for Transport (DfT) where spares seats are sold.
Suffolk County Council submitted to the DfT by 13 December 2019, a list of all routes that had a spare seat sold on them to apply for an exemption certificate to allow for those students to continue to travel, but future non PSVAR compliant routes are not permitted to have an exemption. The exemptions must reduce by 50% after two years (by July 2021) and by 100% after a further two years (by July 2023).
Please note that due to these new government regulations being implemented from January 2020, the spare seat policy will be affected. Applicants for the 2020/2021 academic year should not assume that existing spare seats will be available, or continue to be available, on vehicles operated by the county council for children if their child is not entitled to free home to school transport