Government Calls for Evidence to Address Accessibility on Buses

Wed,14 June 2023
News Transport
The 2021 National Bus Strategy commits the government to review key regulations to improve bus accessibility. They are calling for evidence in an attempt to address the gaps in understanding by gathering information on the current effectiveness and potential evolution of the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR).  

Buses and coaches serve a vital function in our transport network, providing local and scheduled services which deliver connectivity across Great Britain. 

User surveys suggest that accessibility for local buses is good with up to 99% of local buses in Great Britain having been issued with an accessibility certificate. However, the widespread availability of accessible public transport does not mean that all passengers feel equally confident in their use of buses and in particular coaches. 

Again, survey results indicate that in 2020 (during the COVID pandemic) disabled adults in England made 28% fewer bus trips compared to non-disabled adults. In addition, there is a lack of understanding on the experience of neurodivergent passengers (for example, those with autism) when using PSVs; and how well the Public Service Vehicle Access Requirements (PSVAR) support their access needs, and this is true of most other non-visible disabilities. There is a similar lack of understanding around how buses and coaches could be better adapted to improve the experience of ambulant passengers (passengers with physical disabilities who can move around with accessibility aids, such as crutches). 

The PSVAR does have a strong focus on wheelchair accessibility, but the regulations should benefit with further consideration of other disabled passengers, such as people with visual and or hearing impairments, and people with restricted growth or short stature. It is important that the government improves its understanding around how people with multiple conditions or impairments experience PSVs, such as might be the case for some older passengers. Research in this area is being conducted, with a particular emphasis on the accessibility of bus and coach stations and stops, so your input will aid in the future planning of public transport. 

You can find out more and have your say on the government’s website.