- Rail vehicle accessibility
Rail vehicle accessibility
The Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non-Interoperable Rail System) Regulations (RVAR) 2010
( PDF 302 Kb) came into force on 6 April 2010. They revoke and replace the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 1998 and prescribe the accessibility standards to which new (and older light rail vehicles as and when they are refurbished) must comply.
The regulations update accessibility standards and make provision for enforcement by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) using the same regime already in place for accessibility on heavy rail (for heavy rail operators need to comply with the requirements in the Persons of Reduced Mobility Technical Specification for Interoperability – PRM TSI).
The relevant rolling stock has to provide a number of features that make it easier to use, such as handholds, passenger information displays, priority seats and provision for wheelchairs. The legislation therefore widens ORR’s interest in rolling stock beyond the traditional area of safety.
When does RVAR or the PRM TSI apply?
Main line trains built from 1999 to 2009 comply with the standards created through RVAR1998, and are required to do so unless exemptions have been granted by the Department for Transport (DfT). Mainline trains built from 2010 onwards have to comply with the PRM TSI mentioned above.
Non-main line rail vehicles (such as London Underground trains, trams, and some heritage railways) also come within the RVAR regime, although RVAR2010 now applies to new vehicles in this sector whereas the PRM TSI applies only to main line vehicles.
Rail vehicles built before 1999 do not at present need to comply with any accessibility legislation, although operators may choose to make improvements for the benefit of their passengers.
All non-compliant rail vehicles will have to comply with the requirements of RVAR2010 by 2020 (unless they are already compliant with the TSI). DfT can grant exemptions from specific aspects of the regulations and should be contacted for further advice in this area.
The PRM TSI also sets accessibility standards for new stations or for stations where major work takes place.
Rail vehicle accessibility legislation is complex and this summary should not be taken as a definitive statement of the law in all cases.
On 6 April 2010, ORR became the enforcing authority for RVAR (we already enforced the PRM TSI). As enforcing authority for these regulations we will use the principles established in our HSWA enforcement policy statement to ensure compliance with these statutory requirements.
ORR’s Railway Industry Contact Officers (RICOs) will take the primary role in handling potential breaches of accessibility provisions raised by passengers and others, and in considering companies’ arrangements. A lead ORR inspector will provide support and advice.
DfT has the policy lead on accessibility across all transport modes, including the target for all rail vehicles, both heavy and light rail, to be accessible by no later than 1 January 2020 (unless appropriate exemptions are in place).
Further guidance can be found on their website.
Last updated: April 2013
- HSWA enforcement policy statement ( PDF 119 Kb).
- ORR enforcement management model ( PDF 171 Kb).
- ORR Guidance on applying HSE EMM Dutyholder and Strategic factors ( PDF 112 Kb).