Availability of accessible rail replacement coaches

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by kingqueen, 9 Jun 2018.

  1. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    37,173
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    When making a walk-up immediate travel journey, yes that is true.

    But it is possible to form a contract in advance by purchasing a ticket in advance (though this would require visiting another station, or potentially using an app), though in practice few people would benefit from the inconvenience.
     
  2. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

    Messages:
    814
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2013
    sorry, wrong. No RRB service can be called a local service. To be a local service under ANY definition said service has to be registered with the traffic commissioner and must accept the relevant concessionary passes. And of course that would mean they would have to comply with PSVAR. Also whilst, at the moment, scheduled coach services with stops more than 15 miles apart do not have to be operated with compliant vehicles, those vehicles do have to be compliant unless they were built before the relevant date.
     
  3. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    School bus contract prices are not dependent on how many passengers use the bus either, or how far each passenger travels.
    Here are Lancashire County Council's current school bus contracts.
    Take bus contract 02/552. That is a school bus that goes from Inskip, via Great Eccleston, to Garstang Community Academy. The contract price is £29,490 (through a competitive tender process.)
    That contract price is irrespective of the number of people on the bus, and whether the pupils get on/off at the terminus at Inskip, or just for the shorter journey to/from Great Eccleston.
    Lancashire County Council sell season tickets for seats on those buses. That money is paid to Lancashire County Council, not the bus company. The bus company receives not a jot more if somebody buys a season ticket and thus travels on that bus; and not a jot less if they don't.
    Yet as Baroness Hollins made clear in the House of Lords, the fact that the local authority has been paid for at least one pupil's right to travel on that bus means that the bus is subject to PSVAR - even though it makes no difference whatsoever to the bus company's income.
    In other words: the fact that the payment to the bus operator for operation of that bus will not be dependent on how many passengers use the bus or how far they travel is irrelevant to determining whether separate fares have been paid.
     
  4. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    It doesn't have to be a separate bus fare, for it to be considered "at separate fares" for the puposes of the PSVAR.
     
  5. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    Somebody who wanted to clear up for once and for all the question as to whether or not (none, some or all) rail replacement services are subject to the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations; for the purposes of campaigning to improve disabled people's transport experiences. Legal opinions are not always solicited solely for the purposes of litigation.
    What you said was:
    Your statement that if rail replacement buses are either local services or scheduled services as defined by the Transport Act 1985 then the entire bus/coach industry is wrong, means that you are either claiming to be a spokesperson for "the entire bus/coach industry", or that you know that "the entire bus/coach industry" believes that rail replacement buses are never local services or scheduled services as defined by the Transport Act 1985. I simply pointed out that as "the entire bus/coach industry" has not expressed an opinion on this matter, neither of us are able to prove this claim either way. Though I must say that given there are apparently 250,000 ish employees in the bus industry alone in the UK (according to Stagecoach), it seems quite unlikely that none of them whatsoever think that rail replacement buses are subject to the PSVAR.
     
  6. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    No, because it is specifically exempted.
    The PSVAR say that a "local service" is as defined in Section 2 of the Transport Act 1985.
    Subsection 2(5) of the Transport Act 1985 says "Subsections (5)(b), (c) and (6) of section 1 of the 1981 Act (meaning of “fares”) shall apply for the purposes of this section."
    And Subsection 6 of Section 1 of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 says:
    It doesn't say the same for rail replacement services.
     
  7. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    The 1985 act is not irrelevant; indeed the PSVAR directly refers to and uses the definition of local services as set out in Section 2 of the 1985 Act. It is just that Section 6 of the 1985 Act (dealing with registration with traffic commissioners) is irrelevant, because it excludes rail replacement services. The fact that S6 excludes rail replacement vehicles, however, is irrelevant to whether said services are "local services" as defined by Section 2. In fact, Section 6 makes clear that it deals with a subset of "local services" - said subset not including any buses in London, for example.
     
  8. richw

    richw Established Member

    Messages:
    7,512
    Joined:
    10 Jun 2010
    Location:
    Liskeard
    Another point, recently I used rail replacement between Two unmanned stations, no opportunity to buy at either end of the journey. I asked driver and he said he didn’t care as his company has been paid a set rate. He had no ticketing facilities.
    This supports the argument that the replacement bus is a complimentary courtesy service.
     
  9. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    The fact that the bus company doesn't receive separate fares per passengers is irrelevant to the determination of whether the service is "at separate fares" for the puposes of PSVAR. The PSVAR state that "at separate fares" is as definied in subsections 5(b) and (c) of Section 1 of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981:
    NB: "irrespective of the person by or to whom it is made". It matters not whether that fare ends up making its way to the bus operator; the fact that somebody has paid it is the key point.
    I understand that this is often the case. However, many planned rail replacement services have schedules in Journey Planner and/or published online, and are thus scheduled services. If they don't, then they aren't scheduled services; but if their stops are less than 15 miles apart, they are still subject to the PSVAR because they are local services.
     
  10. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

    Messages:
    814
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2013
    absolute rubbish.... what I am stating is that, as far as I am aware, the industry understanding is that RRB's are not subject to PSVAR due to the fact that there has been no notices from the regulatory bodies, upper management, or others that can make that decision... as such that would mean that they have a different interpretation to you.... where did I say that I was speaking for the whole industry.... since you are so quick to accuse others of twisting your words for their own ends I would suggest you would do well to make sure you don't do what you accuse others of!
     
  11. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    No; I just don't agree with you and don't see anything in any of the legislation or guidance to back your contention up; that's all.
    I haven't asked any questions in this thread for quite some time.
    That is your opinion, which I have heard and understand, but I disagree with you, and further think that the legislation and documentation does not back you up.
     
  12. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

    Messages:
    814
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2013
    look at the end of the day there is only one way that it will be resolved.... by taking a test case to court... there are obviously competing pieces of legislation which means only a court can decide....

    I really do have nothing left to add to the debate. I, and many others, have stated reason after reason why RRB's do not have to comply with PSVAR but you are absolutely adamant that they do. Nothing I or anyone else can say will ever change your mind on that... much as no-one can convince a fundamentalist christian that the world took longer than 6 days to create.
     
  13. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    Not according to that contract. The National Rail Conditions of Travel, which "comprise the binding contract that comes into effect between you and the Train Companies that provide scheduled rail services on the National Rail Network, when you purchase a Ticket", doesn't say it is exclusively for rail travel. In fact, they make clear that a fare paid may well include elements of travel by other mechanisms:
    They also make entirely clear that paying the fare puts a responsibility on the train operating company to provide rail replacement transport where necessary, and gives the passenger the right to travel on said buses.
    I'm glad that you are now acknowledging that those other people who disagree with your assertion that the rail fare a rail replacement bus is provided for free, at least have a valid argument.
     
  14. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    Yes. It specifically says they can, in the Conditions of Travel. It then goes on to say that people who don't travel because of said restriction are entitled to a refund, and that other than for the luggage restrictions (e.g. bikes), the bus is to be considered the same as the train it replaces for the remainder of the Conditions.
     
  15. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

    Messages:
    814
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2013
    I'm not acknowledging anything of the sort... I'm saying that I disagree with your contention and that I am willing to be proved wrong by a court of law and not by being brow beaten into submission by someone on a forum!
     
  16. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

    Messages:
    814
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2013
    Now you are just quoting the conditions of carriage out of context... that condition is there for such things as "+ bus"
     
  17. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    Which is entertaining, because when I started this thread it was all about practicality - as to whether or not there would be sufficient accessible rail replacement buses and coaches to meet demand!
    I did comment on that, somewhere in the morass of 10 pages of posts. My comment is that sadly the reality is that taxis aren't as viable an alternative in reality as they appear on paper (or maybe as viable as they should be, depending on one's point of view!)

    I gave an example of my Lakes trip on Friday (I went for a day out on the Windermere steamers.) The driver of the wheelchair accessible taxi at Oxenholme expected me to get into his taxi from the wrong side (the left side is specially widened for wheelchair users) and up the 30cm+ step without using a ramp. When he eventually grudgingly turned the taxi round and fitted the ramps, he then left me side-on in the taxi - he didn't restrain my wheelchair or fit a seatbelt. I then rattled around in the back with the ramps (loose), and with the back of my head and my shoulders pressed against the ceiling. All very dangerous and uncomfortable.

    Northern had booked a taxi for the return journey, to pick me up at 16:05 from Windermere. They booked it well in advance. It didn't turn up; when they phoned up to find out where it was, it was 40 minutes drive away. Meanwhile a host of inaccessible buses and coaches drove passengers away on the rail replacement service, leaving me waiting. In the end an accessible bus turned up, and I arrived in time for my connections at Oxenholme and Manchester. The taxi failed me.

    Sadly this is not unusual; the overriding majority of experiences of rail replacement bus replacement taxis, of myself and other wheelchair users I know, are of a similar ilk.

    So it's not just traffic or not liking using taxis, it's that more often than not the arrangements fall apart in unsafe and unsatisfactory ways.
     
  18. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

    Messages:
    814
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2013
    as an aside... would your efforts not be better directed at making it a legal requirement that all taxis are wheelchair accessible and drivers properly trained? after all, the bus industry has bent over backwards to get it to this stage of accessibility and continues to do what it can to make the last vestiges of it's coach parc accessible. Considering the industry has been buying accessible vehicles for 25 years and a taxi {usually} is required to be less than 7 years old this means the taxi trade could have been fully accessible 18 years ago.... surely the fact that there are still non-accessible taxis/ PH cars is more of a scandal than the fact that not all RRB coaches are accessible?
     
  19. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    Here are the entirety of the questions I have asked in this thread.

    1) Factual questions.
    • What does FDA stand for?
    • Is there some form of set of rules or guidelines as to what should happen when TOCs provide rail replacement transport, both planned / medium term and "emergency" / short term?
    • Where is your evidence that rail replacement buses are free? What is your basis for stating this? What legal basis?
    2) Requests for clarification.
    • The other 4 or 5 being accessible buses?
    • Do you mean this?
    3) Questions to solicit thoughts, experiences and opinions.
    • come 2020, when there is a need for rail replacement buses, will there be sufficient accessible buses and coaches to meet the demand?
    • Is the fact that so few rail replacement buses are accessible an indication that there are insufficient such vehicles available / the distribution of such, do you think?
    • However geographical circumstances in which wheelchair users would never be expected on a section of line must surely be relatively rare, because they may be passing through or whatever?
    4) Rhetorical questions.
    • I guess this would raise the question: how "off-schedule" does something have to be before it isn't classified as scheduled and thus doesn't have to be PSVAR compliant?
    • Why hasn't anybody ever prosecuted a bus driver for refusing to operate a ramp or to allow wheelchair users access to unoccupied wheelchair spaces? Why hasn't anybody prosecuted coach firms for refusing to allow spontaneous travel for wheelchair users? Why do shops and businesses fail to have ramps to afford access for disabled people, contrary to the Equality Act? Why is accessibility legislation so often not enforced? I have some ideas about a lot of reasons why this happens, but I think the key point is: accessibility legislation is often not followed or enforced, or even known about by those who legally have to follow it.
    • Do you somehow intend your unevidenced and incorrect assertion that rail replacement buses are not subject to the Accessibility Requirements to be some form of response as to whether or not there will be sufficient to meet the demand in 2020, as I asked?
    Other than the last factual question (in response to your repeated claims that rail replacement buses are free) and the last rhetorical question, my questions have not been to you. My contributions to this thread have not been predominantly interrogative but expounding my point of view and providing evidence from statute explaining it. So your characterisation of me as asking for information then not accepting it when I have been given it is not accurate or a fair representation of the situation.

    Finally: I have respect for people organising and driving rail replacement buses; I was thinking in Windermere that it must be a very thankless task which I wouldn't like to attempt to do. However that does not mean that I accept that you are therefore unquestionably correct in your interpretation of statutes surrounding such, especially without evidence to support your opinions and statements.
     
  20. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    That is not correct.
    Check Section 6 of the Transport Act 1985
    It says services that are required to register with the Traffic Commissioner are those local services that aren't in London, some school services or rail replacement buses.
    So: local services comprise those that are subject to registration AND those that aren't subject to registration (those being buses in London, some school buses and rail replacement services.)
    That's confirmed by the definition of "local services" in Section 2.
    Otherwise, as I've previously noted, not only would rail replacement services not be subject to the PSVAR, London buses would also be exempt...
    You're getting the definitions in Section 6 (services that have to register with the Traffic Commissioner) and Section 2 (local services) conflated, which isn't accurate or helpful.
    We agree there (or first used before the relevant date)
     
  21. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    That is what you are saying now, not what you said then. But I will leave it there.
     
  22. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    I, and many others, have stated reason after reason why I believe that under the legislation RRBs do have to comply with PSVAR but you are absolutely adamant that they do. Nothing I or anyone else can say will ever change your mind on that, much as no-one can convince a fundamentalist Christian that the world took longer than 6 days to create. However, I have gone through the statute (not the Bible) in quite some considerable detail in explaining why I believe that (many / most) Rail Replacement Bus services are subject to the regulations. You have simply stated that we should accept that "rail replacement services are free" because you have considerable experience organising and driving such services, without providing any evidence to back that assertion up. I'm on the evolutionist side, basing my argument on evidence, carefully going through the primary and secondary legislation and so on - yet you complain at me not simply taking your opinion as inalienable fact.
    This is the fourth time that you have indicated this is your last word on the subject. If you don't do so, then unless and until you say something original, I'm going to leave my previously-repeated rebuttals unspoken.
     
  23. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    oh believe me I've been campaigning on that as well. In fact, Rail Replacement Buses are somewhat of a departure from my recent campaigning on this issue. Check my website if you're interested.
     
  24. talldave

    talldave Established Member

    Messages:
    1,356
    Joined:
    24 Jan 2013
    Why do you feel the need to repeat the same posting again? It had nothing to do with coaches the first time either? Please, please take this to court.
     
  25. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

    Messages:
    814
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2013
    I see so now you are going as far as repeating my words like a primary schoolkid in the playground! absolutely pathetic!

    And I certainly have nowhere said that people should just accept my judgement because I know best... in fact many times in this thread taken the evidence you have quoted and provided a different interpretation of your evidence.

    And tbh do you realise what a bully you come across as... I post one comment and then you bombard the thread with half a dozen new comments... all taking bits of what I posted and taking them out of context.

    As I have said time and again... if you think that the industry is misinterpretting the law then take a test case to court to get a ruling...but until a court of law says my interpretation of the law is incorrect I will continue to believe that my interpretation is correct, just as you believe you are correct.

    I suggest you take a good look at yourself in the mirror before you accuse others of doing things!

    Furthermore, if you continue to bombard the thread trying to make me look unreasonable then I will consider it bullying and I will report it as such!
     
  26. richw

    richw Established Member

    Messages:
    7,512
    Joined:
    10 Jun 2010
    Location:
    Liskeard
    Guys stop feeding the troll. He has no interest in our views. Just repeatedly pumping the same misinterpreted copy and paste! If the railway call up asking to hire a coach for a service, the bus operator is on private hire to the railway for that service. It’s down to the railway to hire suitable vehicles. 10 non accessible coaches and 10 accessible taxis will do.
    The railway are required by law to forfill their contract to get from A to B. If there is rail replacement needed, that accessible method doesn’t have to be a coach, it could be an accessible taxi.
    If you want accessible coaches all the low cost operators will say no to the private hire enquiry and suddenly there will be no replacement coaches.
     
  27. GusB

    GusB Member

    Messages:
    948
    Joined:
    9 Jul 2016
    Location:
    Elginshire
    This does seem to be a bit of a circular argument. I'm neither qualified, nor willing enough, to delve into the numerous pieces of legislation, statutory instruments and other legal bits and bobs. The intricacies of the law are probably best left to those who are actually paid enough to interpret them - the lawyers.

    I do see what the OP is getting at, though - @kingqueen should be able to turn up and go at any station in the country and get to his/her destination in the same way as anyone else would. Do they have an agenda? Yes, I would say, but quite rightly so. We've had years to take into account that some people have reduced mobility, and it's all coming to a head now that the "deadline" is looming.

    We've had wheelchair-accessible buses for years. Apart from the converted minibuses with ambulance doors and a lift at the rear, there were some vehicles converted with side doors and lifts. Strathclyde Transport installed lifts into some of their Volvo Citybuses, and the vehicle was branded "This bus also carries wheelchair passengers". (Source: Scottish Bus Handbook 2nd edition p119, Capital Transport) How these vehicles worked in practice, I have no idea.

    There was some talk upthread about the only accessible coaches available being those provided by National Express. This is not true - I regularly used Stagecoach Bluebird routes 10 and 305 to get to work and the SV55*** batch of coaches that they introduced had the split-door arrangement with wheelchair lifts. They were introduced in 2005/6! We've had accessible, low-floor, buses for far longer than that. I'm sure I was still at school when the Lance SLF, Scania MaxCi and low-floor Neoplans were being trialled. The Plaxton Panther LE was recently unveiled, but it's not the first "high-floor" vehicle to have a wee low-floor bit that someone in a wheelchair can access.

    I'm not arguing whether or not a bus or coach operator does comply with whichever bit of legalese - I'm just saying that bus and coach companies have known for long enough that the day would come when vehicles should be accessible to all. TOCs should be specifying that all vehicles used on RRB work should be compliant.
     
  28. Teflon Lettuce

    Teflon Lettuce Member

    Messages:
    814
    Joined:
    22 Aug 2013
    Indeed... in fact, seeing as though most stns and many trains are unusable to wheelchair users without assistance, and {I believe} disabled passengers needing assistance are required to notify the TOC in advance perhaps the OP can explain why he thinks the TOC has to provide a fully accessible fleet of replacement vehicles when there is a service substitution and that as soon as the substitution takes place he can just turn up without notice and demand fully accessible transport?
     
  29. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    I'm hoping that won't be necessary, because it's a very long-winded and tolling process and often leads to unsatisfactory unintended consequences or results. I'm hoping that one of my queries I've got in with the DfT, the Office of Rail and Road, and the DVSA on this subject may come up trumps; or failing that, the expert barrister analysis may do similarly. I consider it reasonably likely that the statutory bodies may also say that it's open to interpretation and can only ultimately be settled in Court. I thought it was at least worth asking, though.

    In the meantime, the statutory Code of Practice: Accessible Train Station Design for Disabled People says, in Section Y1,
    It also says,
    This evidently recognises that whilst accessible taxis are a good solution on paper, the reality is that accessible buses are preferable. They also say:
    My regular experience is that rail replacement bus replacement accessible taxis don't transport me in reasonable comfort; I end up travelling with my head and neck pressed against the ceiling, unable to see out of the windows, and stifling. Also more often than not the taxi driver doesn't restrain me or my wheelchair (whether because they don't know how to, e.g. in this video, or because they don't bother, as in this video.)

    So my question is: why are so few (planned!) rail replacement buses accessible?
    How much does accessibility of buses feature in negotiations between TOCs and bus companies? Is there any way of finding out how much priority a TOC or TOCs gives to attempting to procure accessible vehicles? Also do TOCs attempt to shape the market for future engineering cover, e.g. by encouraging their partner firms to procure accessible coaches?
    Whatever they're doing isn't very successful, in my experience, because as Northern (my local TOC) admit, a very small proportion of rail replacement vehicles are accessible. Doubtless a significant factor in this is coach operators using inaccessible stock, both old and new (bought for use on excursions and tours) but I wonder, without knowing, if some is also down to TOCs not treating accessibility as a priority.
    That's fine by me, though I'd hope that if the statutory bodies or barrister's report say anything that challenges either of our interpretations we'd both be prepared to consider it.
    I did not intend to bombard the thread or to make you look unreasonable; the reason a few came through at once was because I was reading through and commenting on those posts where I thought I could contribute something. I am sorry I came across as bullying. NB: in the spirit of openness; I have reported those of your posts that included potentially defamatory allegations about me.
     
    Last edited: 14 Jun 2018 at 01:39
  30. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    12 Apr 2010
    Location:
    Wetherby, North Yorkshire
    Yeah you're right, not my finest hour. He got under my skin and I reacted. I apologise.
     

Share This Page