The Department for Transport (DfT) regarding audio-visual announcements on buses, released on March 30, states that these will be made mandatory by October 2026, but based on the year of manufacture of the bus. Any new vehicle registered after October 2024 should be fitted with visible information that can be read by the wheelchair user – facing away from the majority of customers, as wheelchair users have to travel facing the rear, requiring at least two screens on a standard singledecker.

Closed door school services (those where no fares are taken, or individual tickets sold) and section 19 or 22 permit operated vehicles are exempted. Whilst I can understand that there isn’t a requirement on home to school transport, why should section 19 and 22 vehicles be given more leeway than commercially operated buses?

Section 19 and 22 are defined as not-forprofit organisations and don’t require a standard PSV O-licence (therefore aren’t governed by the same strict rules that are there for the safety of road users). Typically, the main applicants for these are charities and local councils. Complications occur when the not-for-profit criteria becomes stretched to allow these operators to compete in the tendering process for local authority contracts. They have a distinct advantage over commercial operators, as they don’t necessarily have the need for PCV drivers or Driver CPC training and bypass a number of the unwieldy and costly regulations that commercial bus operators face.

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