Consultation on Accessible Travel Policy Guidance - accessibility of rail replacement services

Start date: 20 December 2019
End date: 14 February 2020

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has today opened a consultation to revise the Accessible Travel Policy (ATP) Guidance published in July 2019. This aims to improve the availability of accessible vehicles for use by disabled passengers during rail disruption, and to ensure passengers know where accessible buses and coaches will be operated.

This follows draft legal advice published by ORR in September 2019, which concluded that the PSVAR (public service vehicle accessibility regulations) apply to rail replacement services. The regulations ensure buses, and in certain circumstances coaches from 1 January 2020 (unless a one-month exemption until 31 January 2020 is applied for from the Department for Transport), are accessible to disabled people. We have today also published the responses to that legal advice from interested parties.

The regulations are enforced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. Low-floor buses are widely available and in use across Great Britain, including on shorter rail routes when there is disruption. However, there are currently not enough accessible coaches available for hire during disruption to long-distance rail journeys. Passengers are therefore usually offered an accessible taxi, but this also may not be appropriate for all disabled passengers.

Our overall objective is to ensure that all passengers can request and receive assistance to travel safely with confidence and ease. To ensure that this happens, we are seeking views on additional requirements within the ATP Guidance in the following areas:

  • Mandatory tendering for accessible buses and coaches in rail replacement contracts, to incentivise investment in the supply chain and increase the availability of vehicles over time;
  • Encouraging earlier procurement and greater use of accessible vehicles at times of planned disruption;
  • Proactive provision of information to passengers on the accessibility of rail replacement services, and on any alternatives that may be more appropriate; and
  • Working with industry partners to improve the provision of accessible coaches during large-scale engineering works.

In addition to the consultation, we have also published a draft impact assessment of our proposals. The final legal advice was received and published on 6 February 2020.

How to respond

We would welcome your views by 14 February 2020. Please send your response to ATP@orr.gov.uk.

Publishing your response

We plan to publish all responses to this consultation on our website. This may include your personal data such as your name and job title.

Should you wish any information that you provide, including personal data, to be treated as confidential, please be aware that this may be subject to publication, or release to other parties or to disclosure, in accordance with the access to information regimes. These regimes are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR,) the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Under the FOIA, there is a statutory code of practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this, if you are seeking confidentiality for information you are providing, please explain why. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information, we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on ORR.

If you are seeking to make a response in confidence, we would also be grateful if you would annex any confidential information, or provide a non-confidential summary, so that we can publish the non-confidential aspects of your response.

Any personal data you provide to us will be used for the purposes of this consultation and will be handled in accordance with our privacy notice which sets out how we comply with the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018.

Consent

In responding to this consultation you consent to us:

  • handling your personal data for the purposes of this consultation;
  • publishing your response on our website (unless you have indicated to us that you wish for your response to be treated as confidential as set out above.)

Your consent to either of the above can be withdrawn at any time. Further information about how we handle your personal data and your rights is set out in our privacy notice.

Format of responses

So that we are able to apply web standards to content on our website, we would prefer that you email us your response either in Microsoft Word format or OpenDocument Text (.odt) format. ODT files have a fully open format and do not rely on any specific piece of software.

If you send us a PDF document, please:

  • create it directly from an electronic word-processed file using PDF creation software (rather than as a scanned image of a printout); and
  • ensure that the PDF's security method is set to no security in the document properties.

Consultation document

Further information