Induction Loops On Public Service Vehicles: The Law
In a crucial shift towards greater accessibility for all, the Public Service Vehicles (Accessible Information) Regulations 2023 states that all new buses and coaches operated as local services across England, Scotland, and Wales must be fitted with a hearing loop system, and some older vehicles should now be retrofitted.
Here, we shed light on the purpose of the regulations, outline what they stipulate, and present our solution to ensuring not only legal compliance, but the best possible experience for passengers of public service vehicles.
What is the purpose of the regulations?
The regulations have been put in place with three intended impacts:
- Ensure disabled people have access to consistent onboard information across the country, fostering loyalty among current users and encouraging new patrons by enhancing the confidence, safety, and satisfaction of disabled passengers using local services.
- Provide operators with flexibility in how they comply with the regulations, catering to their business models and minimising the potential impact of stringent requirements that could render financially fragile services unviable.
- Intend to create wider benefits for society by enhancing the appeal of local bus and coach services for all passengers, regardless of disability, aligning with the government's growth agenda.
What do the regulations stipulate?
Subject to some exceptions, the regulations require operators to provide audible and visible information onboard their vehicles that operate as local services, setting the parameters for ‘what’, ‘when’, and ‘how’ onboard information must be provided.
- What: Passengers must at least be informed on five key elements (see regulations seven to 11) of a journey, but may also provide additional information (such as connecting services or key landmarks) if they wish.
- When: Information must be provided after the preceding stopping place and in sufficient time to enable passengers to leave the vehicle at the stop being announced.
- How: The regulations set parameters based on the minimum and maximum audible volume, and minimum character height for the visible information. The only requirement that prescribes specific equipment relates to making audible induction loop technology available to passengers in the wheelchair space and priority seating.
When do the regulations need to be implemented?
The timescales for implementation are based on the age of a vehicle. Older vehicles (first used between January 1973 and September 2014) have three years to comply with the regulations. This is a longer time period than for newer vehicles (which will have between one and two years to comply, depending on the vehicle’s age).
Ensuring accessible travel for all is not only a legal obligation, but an ethical one too. The implementation of these regulations should improve disabled passengers’ confidence and safety when travelling on local services, something that matters to us deeply. Taking the time to source solutions that make the best possible difference to your customer base is crucial, and we’re here to help. Learn more about ClearConnect or make an enquiry today.