Availability of accessible rail replacement coaches

mde

Member
Joined
17 Nov 2016
Messages
487
To me the key is that the service is accessible, not that each vehicle is. Requiring each coach in a convoy of 5 replacing an InterCity train to have a wheelchair space when the train it replaces has only one in the whole train is just silly, really, and replacing all the vehicles with services buses is equally silly because it discriminates against those with other disabilities such as frequent toilet need or back problems which would make multi-hour journeys in a service bus impossible.
Which intercity style operator is still running with a single space in the whole train? Even the awful Voyager's have two.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

RLBH

Member
Joined
17 May 2018
Messages
949
Which intercity style operator is still running with a single space in the whole train? Even the awful Voyager's have two.
I don't think that 'places per train' is really the right measure, either - it probably ought to be 'places per hour' or 'places per seat' to reflect the fact that you're trying to achieve a comparable level of service. Since buses are generally slower than trains, you'll need more capacity in buses unless it's a lightly loaded route, and provision of facilities (wheelchair spaces, toilets, etc) should reflect that.
 

Robertj21a

Established Member
Joined
22 Sep 2013
Messages
6,179
No. that's what I said all along. You just misinterpreted it.

What RR work carried out in London? TOCs don't even supply RR buses in London.
I despair. You really seem to have no proper understanding of the situation whatsoever.
 

HH

Established Member
Joined
31 Jul 2009
Messages
4,505
Location
Essex
Most TOCs supply RR buses in London unless there is a very close parallel route or the engineering can be covered by two-track railway.
There are already TfL buses, underground and other TOCs. These are the first port of call. Usually any buses start/end some way out from the centre and are for longer distance travel.
 

JonathanH

Established Member
Joined
29 May 2011
Messages
4,501
There are already TfL buses, underground and other TOCs. These are the first port of call. Usually any buses start/end some way out from the centre and are for longer distance travel.
No, I have travelled from both Victoria and London Bridge on buses stopping at all stations to East and West Croydon. There are buses from London Bridge to Plumstead on Sunday. Plenty of other places where RR buses run in London.
 

Flange Squeal

Member
Joined
17 Jul 2012
Messages
183
What RR work carried out in London? TOCs don't even supply RR buses in London.
That’s interesting to hear and must be breaking news this week, as last weekend I was driving Clapham Junction to Surbiton for SWR and over the last year have also covered London area work for other TOCs including Southern and Thameslink on routes out of London Bridge, and even London Underground District Line.
 

HH

Established Member
Joined
31 Jul 2009
Messages
4,505
Location
Essex
No, I have travelled from both Victoria and London Bridge on buses stopping at all stations to East and West Croydon. There are buses from London Bridge to Plumstead on Sunday. Plenty of other places where RR buses run in London.
Thanks. So South London has RR buses and these can be PSVAR at weekends, but during the week? And the rest of the country?
 

hwl

Established Member
Joined
5 Feb 2012
Messages
5,419
Thanks. So South London has RR buses and these can be PSVAR at weekends, but during the week? And the rest of the country?
Many of the buses are current / ex-TfL, the later available during the week. District line normally gets current LU buses. The SWR work last weekend saw a complete mix of buses and coaches but with queues of 10-15 RR vehicles at the traffic lights in Earlsfield there were always several RR buses available.
 

Robertj21a

Established Member
Joined
22 Sep 2013
Messages
6,179
Thanks. So South London has RR buses and these can be PSVAR at weekends, but during the week? And the rest of the country?
If I was you I'd stop digging your hole any deeper. Just admit that you have no idea what you are talking about !
 
Last edited:

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
7,486
Location
Rail replacement bus cab
No. that's what I said all along. You just misinterpreted it.

What RR work carried out in London? TOCs don't even supply RR buses in London.
Where have my wages been coming from the last few years then? I've been driving rail replacement over NR lines in London for some time! The biggest PVR service in London is probably the all stops Victoria to East Croydon job with the SWR lines not far behind. All of the Southeastern lines are covered too.
 
Last edited:

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
7,486
Location
Rail replacement bus cab
Thanks. So South London has RR buses and these can be PSVAR at weekends, but during the week? And the rest of the country?
Not just South London. In recent weeks I've driven Ealing Broadway to Slough and Liverpool Street to Cheshunt and did Paddington to Maidenhead a couple of years ago. Replacement buses do run on the St Pancras to St Albans line but they often disappear into a black hole after leaving the first stop and fail to make it to the designated stops between the termini, leaving waiting passengers without any service!

Rail replacement buses are PSVAR during the week - the train operators now require operators to produce the vehicle's certificate.
 
Last edited:

tsr

Established Member
Joined
15 Nov 2011
Messages
7,394
Location
Between the parallel lines
Replacement buses do run on the St Pancras to St Albans line but they often disappear into a black hole after leaving the first stop and fail to make it to the designated stops between the termini, leaving waiting passengers without any service!
Tell me about it. Station and control room staff are well aware of this. Frankly it’s barely worth the bother to run buses on that route unless trains are physically impossible for a prolonged amount of time. You certainly wouldn’t do it to supplement any sort of train service which is running. Some of the bus “misdirections” on that route are quite astonishing.

Rail replacement buses are PSVAR during the week - the train operators now require operators to produce the vehicle's certificate.
Not quite (and I speak with good authority). All replacement buses must be PSVAR compliant regardless of time of day/week unless they have a derogation certificate.

Non-PSVAR buses with a certificate may run, if the bus company permits it - provided the derogation certificate is shown in the windscreen and there are station/frontline staff to verify the certificate before it starts its first journey. The TOC must also be informed.

Non-PSVAR buses without a certificate may only run in a severe emergency where there are no other transport options, and it will be very very rare for this to be permitted.
 

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
7,486
Location
Rail replacement bus cab
Tell me about it. Station and control room staff are well aware of this. Frankly it’s barely worth the bother to run buses on that route unless trains are physically impossible for a prolonged amount of time. You certainly wouldn’t do it to supplement any sort of train service which is running. Some of the bus “misdirections” on that route are quite astonishing.
The thing is, there are regular rail replacement drivers that can read and follow a map, respect the timetable where it's possible to do so and safely improvise where the prescribed route is blocked. The reality is, there are inherent difficulties with guaranteeing 100% of these drivers for every job due to the volatile nature of rail replacement work - the routes and labour requirements change weekly and these drivers need a stable income so may be snapped up to do other private hire or service work on weekends.

Other drivers - those who get so severely lost, need more intensive route learning and supervision. This costs money and resources which either the TOC or the bus operator would ideally take responsibility for funding. By and large the drivers couldn't care less what happens in the middle of the shift because they get paid either way - though over the years I have encountered more than a few having nervous breakdowns because they don't know the route and passengers are distressed, which isn't good for any involved party. Every weekend I type "rail replacement" and "bus replacement" into Twitter and there are usually a few SOS messages from passengers on board lost buses, or complaining about buses not turning up.

TfL do mitigate by funding a certain quota of route navigators on many of their rail replacement routes.

Not quite (and I speak with good authority). All replacement buses must be PSVAR compliant regardless of time of day/week unless they have a derogation certificate.

Non-PSVAR buses with a certificate may run, if the bus company permits it - provided the derogation certificate is shown in the windscreen and there are station/frontline staff to verify the certificate before it starts its first journey. The TOC must also be informed.

Non-PSVAR buses without a certificate may only run in a severe emergency where there are no other transport options, and it will be very very rare for this to be permitted.
To clarify, I was responding to HH's query on whether replacement buses are required to be PSVAR compliant during the week.

Where I am there has been a request to check that rail replacement buses are PSVAR compliant. As a ticket office clerk I'm not sure how I'm meant to know what PSVAR is or be able to tell which buses are or aren't compliant! Fortunately I have the option of not being at work when rail replacement buses are on which I have taken up without exception for several years.

I'm also a bus operator and transport manager who is looking at having buses refurbished to comply, having been through the PSVAR regulations with a very fine tooth comb to ensure they'll have everything they need to get their certification. They are low floor, equipped with ramps and fully wheelchair accessible but cannot operate on rail replacement simply because they need more bell pushes towards the rear of the upper deck! They've been doing rail work for years with other operators but ironically compliance with PSVAR is having wheelchair accessible buses taken off the road. TOCs are now asking to see the PSVAR certificates before allowing operators to take on work.

These derogation certificates - I presume these are TOC issued and the DfT is notified. I was of the understanding this particular derogation scheme is ending today. Or has there been an extension which is being kept out of the public domain?

The only driving work I do is rail replacement and I take immense pride in running on time at each calling point where appropriate and possible. I'm trying to drive all existing London area routes outside of Zone 1 and review every route I've driven and rate them on difficulty and enjoyability. I've never done Thameslink North but having examined the maps would relish the challenge. It's not that hard for those who know the roads and just need a good map to join the dots.
 
Last edited:

TUC

Established Member
Joined
11 Nov 2010
Messages
2,257
The thing is, there are regular rail replacement drivers that can read and follow a map, respect the timetable where it's possible to do so and safely improvise where the prescribed route is blocked. The reality is, there are inherent difficulties with guaranteeing 100% of these drivers for every job due to the volatile nature of rail replacement work - the routes and labour requirements change weekly and these drivers need a stable income so may be snapped up to do other private hire or service work on weekends.

Other drivers - those who get so severely lost, need more intensive route learning and supervision. This costs money and resources which either the TOC or the bus operator would ideally take responsibility for funding. By and large the drivers couldn't care less what happens in the middle of the shift because they get paid either way - though over the years I have encountered more than a few having nervous breakdowns because they don't know the route and passengers are distressed, which isn't good for any involved party. Every weekend I type "rail replacement" and "bus replacement" into Twitter and there are usually a few SOS messages from passengers on board lost buses, or complaining about buses not turning up.

TfL do mitigate by funding a certain quota of route navigators on many of their rail replacement routes.
In a world of satnavs, why should any driver get lost, especially given that satnavs can be set to cover multiple points across a route?
 

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
7,486
Location
Rail replacement bus cab
In a world of satnavs, why should any driver get lost, especially given that satnavs can be set to cover multiple points across a route?
In my view satnavs are not always the best solution. Not long ago a coach driver on rail replacement drove straight into a low bridge in London - another private hire bus got stuck down a road with a width restriction - there's no way they were following printed maps. If anything, satnavs can divert attention away from critical road signs and obstructions.

They are good for routes like Newbury Park to Southend Victoria, or Dorking to Effingham Junction where the road network is not especially complex. But within cities with dense road networks, there is no substitute for proper road knowledge.

I think there are seven ways of teaching drivers a route. Each has its pros and cons and the effectiveness is very much dependent on the driver's area knowledge, confidence and aptitude;

1. Providing maps/pace notes
2. Providing pilots
3. Providing a sat nav
4. Signposting
5. The driver goes on a bus and observes the route before driving it
6. The driver goes in their car and drives over the route
7. The driver follows another bus

1. Works if the driver has map reading skills. Not everyone can map read. Some councils don't like displaying side road names at junctions which makes life harder.
2. Pilots can be very useful. Personally I'd rather have a map so I can make my own decisions about lane positioning before turns and adequate warning of bus stops.
3. Some believe sat navs are the panacea. I don't trust them unless I've programmed the routes myself and made sure it matches the map exactly. Some drivers use them and end up failing to pick up passengers waiting in the correct place for stations or go into autopilot and crash into low bridges. Dangerous things without road knowledge and a map as backup.
4. Signposts are an incredibly helpful aide, if clearly displayed in good time. At complicated roundabouts you can blink and miss them and come unstuck. They're a nightmare to work with on routes like Stratford to Richmond where you encounter signposts for about a dozen different routes and the route letter changes twice along the way! No substitute for route knowledge in such cases.
5. This method is useful for some drivers but not everyone. It can cost £4k+ to put a load of drivers on a bus for a day and some will studiously take notes, others work better with other forms of route learning. I've been on sessions where the job starts immediately after route learning, or a few days later and several buses still get lost.
6. This is unpaid time and there's no guarantee the correct route is followed.
7. The less said about this practice the better but I am wholly against it in passenger service on healthy and safety grounds.
 
Last edited:

TUC

Established Member
Joined
11 Nov 2010
Messages
2,257
Satnavs can be set to avoid issues such as low bridges. It's simply a matter of programming them right, which the employer rather than the driver should be responsible for doing.

Much of the rest of what you say is simply about alert, competent driving. If a driver isn't capable of that they shouldn't be driving a bus or coach at all.

With respect, a lot of what you say sound like a very old world, non-technology approach. The world has changed.
 

richw

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2010
Messages
9,061
Location
Liskeard
Another psvar circumstance I thought of today, school field trips. School trip to the zoo, school charging each parent £10 to cover entry and transport. Each parent has paid a separate fare for that coach transport to the zoo.
so by all intents and purposes field trips require psvar vehicles based on my understanding of THe rules
 

harz99

Member
Joined
14 Jul 2009
Messages
645
Another psvar circumstance I thought of today, school field trips. School trip to the zoo, school charging each parent £10 to cover entry and transport. Each parent has paid a separate fare for that coach transport to the zoo.
so by all intents and purposes field trips require psvar vehicles based on my understanding of THe rules
Yep, there's an article in Coach and Bus Week about Gretton's Coaches of Peterborough, a successful family run coach operator with around 40 years in the business, that are closing down this April. The company specialise in school transportation, both trips away and home to school, plus private hires for other groups.

Whilst the principal reason for closure is the lease on their operating centre and workshops expiring in June and being unable to secure a suitable alternative, they are also quoted as being unable to afford the costs associated with purchasing a replacement fleet that conforms to PSVAR. They are not the first smaller company to close because of the impending PSVAR compliance associated costs and doubtless won't be the last. As most of the former local coach companies have also ceased operations in recent years there will be several more disappointed schools in Peterborough.

As I and others have said before, be very careful what you wish for, as the unintended consequences may outweigh any perceived benefits!
 

philthetube

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Messages
2,043
Another psvar circumstance I thought of today, school field trips. School trip to the zoo, school charging each parent £10 to cover entry and transport. Each parent has paid a separate fare for that coach transport to the zoo.
so by all intents and purposes field trips require psvar vehicles based on my understanding of THe rules
Although the parents are paying individually this is a private hire with the school hiring the coach and then charging parents to cover costs, to be honest this is how it works with a vast majority of hires, eg a stag party organiser will recover coach costs from the attenders
 

richw

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2010
Messages
9,061
Location
Liskeard
Although the parents are paying individually this is a private hire with the school hiring the coach and then charging parents to cover costs, to be honest this is how it works with a vast majority of hires, eg a stag party organiser will recover coach costs from the attenders
that maybe the case, but the wording of the legislation is that if each user has paid a individual fee PSVAR applies. Even though the school are hiring the coach each child will have often paid a fee to the school and therefore psvar applies. There is a specific exemption that if less THan 20% of children pay themselves that psvar doesn’t apply to school based transport
 

Dai Corner

Established Member
Joined
20 Jul 2015
Messages
2,489
that maybe the case, but the wording of the legislation is that if each user has paid a individual fee PSVAR applies. Even though the school are hiring the coach each child will have often paid a fee to the school and therefore psvar applies. There is a specific exemption that if less THan 20% of children pay themselves that psvar doesn’t apply to school based transport
Isn't there a difference between paying an individual 'fare' to the organiser to go on a school trip or stag party where the prime purpose is education or entertainment and paying an individual fare to an operator purely to travel from A to B?

Which raises the question of day trips marketed to the public. Some include admission to an attraction but others just drop passengers at the destination and pick them up later. Should PSVAR apply to one if these, both or neither?
 

richw

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2010
Messages
9,061
Location
Liskeard
Isn't there a difference between paying an individual 'fare' to the organiser to go on a school trip or stag party where the prime purpose is education or entertainment and paying an individual fare to an operator purely to travel from A to B?
there’s been no legal test so hard to say. Some industry authors suggest it ‘may’ come under ‘tour’ rules but Advise no legal test has been made as yet.
 

RJ

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2005
Messages
7,486
Location
Rail replacement bus cab
These derogation certificates - I presume these are TOC issued and the DfT is notified. I was of the understanding this particular derogation scheme is ending today. Or has there been an extension which is being kept out of the public domain?
To answer my own question, an extenstion of this exemption has been granted - https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...ion-of-non-accessible-period-to-30-april-2020


Satnavs can be set to avoid issues such as low bridges. It's simply a matter of programming them right, which the employer rather than the driver should be responsible for doing.

Much of the rest of what you say is simply about alert, competent driving. If a driver isn't capable of that they shouldn't be driving a bus or coach at all.

With respect, a lot of what you say sound like a very old world, non-technology approach. The world has changed.
Rail replacement requires a certain acquired skill set to do to a professional standard. That skill set doesn't come automatically with a PCV licence, but the reality is that licenced drivers without it have to be used to make up the numbers. Incidents stemming from buses being off route happen whether or not a satnav is being used.

You say people without that level of alertness shouldn't be driving, but people have bills to pay and a lot of companies will take "experienced" drivers on with few questions asked about their background. A lot of jobs would go uncovered if those drivers were banned from driving indefinitely!
 

Cesarcollie

Member
Joined
5 Jun 2016
Messages
226
Another psvar circumstance I thought of today, school field trips. School trip to the zoo, school charging each parent £10 to cover entry and transport. Each parent has paid a separate fare for that coach transport to the zoo.
so by all intents and purposes field trips require psvar vehicles based on my understanding of THe rules
No. A private hire/tour where all passengers start from and return to the same point is not covered by PSVAR.
 

philthetube

Established Member
Joined
5 Jan 2016
Messages
2,043
If trained as a bus driver, and never done anything else then driving RRB is a very different job, you will never have had to look for obstructions as everywhere you go you know that busses fit and run regularly. If previously only driven cars, which basically fit anywhere then the job is totally different from anything previously experienced.
 

TUC

Established Member
Joined
11 Nov 2010
Messages
2,257
If trained as a bus driver, and never done anything else then driving RRB is a very different job, you will never have had to look for obstructions as everywhere you go you know that busses fit and run regularly. .
Then why has there been there an issue every few years in Middlesbrough with bus drivers going the wring route and managing to get their bus stuck under the low bridge in the town centre?
 
Last edited:

3141

Established Member
Joined
1 Apr 2012
Messages
1,499
Location
Overton, Hampshire
Satnavs can be set to avoid issues such as low bridges. It's simply a matter of programming them right, which the employer rather than the driver should be responsible for doing.

Much of the rest of what you say is simply about alert, competent driving. If a driver isn't capable of that they shouldn't be driving a bus or coach at all.

With respect, a lot of what you say sound like a very old world, non-technology approach. The world has changed.
That implies that "old world" is wrong (and "very old world" absolutely the pits), because now that "the world has changed" everything is better. A satnav is useful in many circumstances, but it isn't a complete alternative to map-reading skills and a knowledge of where you are and where you are going. Technology does indeed offer opportunities that didn't exist previously, but relying on it absolutely and assuming that it has no limitations can lead to mistakes. That's not just the case with modern digital technology: there have been railway accidents in the past when people supposed that the latest technical application took care of everything, and found that they should have been using their intelligence as well.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
51,426
Location
Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
An observation in relation to this thread...was driving down the A508 from M1 J15 to MK earlier on and passed a number of RRBs, these were all low-floor PSVAR-compliant buses (several from Stagecoach and one from a Centrebus subsidiary) rather than the usual coaches. So things are changing.
 

Deafdoggie

Established Member
Joined
29 Sep 2016
Messages
1,437
An observation in relation to this thread...was driving down the A508 from M1 J15 to MK earlier on and passed a number of RRBs, these were all low-floor PSVAR-compliant buses (several from Stagecoach and one from a Centrebus subsidiary) rather than the usual coaches. So things are changing.
On a Sunday there are spare buses. It’s the other six days you struggle to find them.

Our coaches all have a SatNav fitted and the coach dimensions are preset into it. It won’t offer a route if there are known height or width restrictions.
 

Top