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Problem Description:
In relation to use of PCVs and minibuses. The definition is far too broadly encompassing and creates a wide range of anomalies. The definition in use imposes a massive overhead burden on small businesses, who are effectively squeezed out of using a minibus. A voluntary group can receive payments and be (very) free of regulation. A transport company can absorb the burden because of the volume of use and mileages driven, and in many instances also receives significant public subsidy.

All vehicles regardless of size or capacity if used for business related activities generate some form of reward. From a salesman travelling around meeting clients, to builders transporting goods and materials, to bus companies transporting walk on passengers by right. No person has any right to travel in a vehicle unless it is offering such a public service, and even then the drivers have authority to prevent those whom have relinquished such a right through behaviour or refusal to pay.

The anomaly means that many people who could offer a more environmentally friendly service such as outdoor activity providers, require their clients to all travel independently to activity locations. The activity leader has to travel anyway, yet is not allowed to transport people or give them a lift as he/she is receiving a payment for his activity provision. A vehicle being used to transport goods does not attract the hire and reward definition yet if people are involved it does. The associated safety related regulation is reasonable to ensure that people in a vehicle are carried in a safe manner, yet the hire and reward implication imposes the full range of administrative burden and cost on the operator. The main purpose of the acitivity is just that and the transport is highly incidental to the process.

Currently a voluntary group can carry out exactly the same activities taking the same income without any effective burden other than normal car based MOT, D1(101), insurance requirements. A self employed person would have to (try to) generate more than the voluntary group does in order to cover the burden.

However if a private car (of whatever size up to 17 seats) were used then a lift can be offered, even though the driver may be paid or recover the running costs while carrying out that business.

Transport operators cover their costs over many hundreds of thousands of miles per year, yet small companies undertaking outdoor activities operate less than 10,000. This is less then the maintenance recommendation by the manufacturers, yet the safety inspection which arises from the PSV Operator licence requirement is applied regardless of mileage.

This problem is caused by conflicting regulations or guidance.

Proposed solution:
Effectively the term hire and reward should only be applied where the prime purpose of the usage is the transport of goods or people, particularly on a scheduled service. The problem is proportionality. If it were possible to have rational and affordable regulation in relation to maintenance and inspections, then the situation could stand. If the hire and reward were applied to the main acitivity being carried out then again the situation would be mush easier. The overhead cost of the regulation and licensing regime renders any potential business uneconomic for a one person operator with the limited numbers of clients who can be carried. The 6 or 7 day a week public service operation has the volume to sustain the regulatory burden but a private provider of other services operating on 2 or 3 days per week does not. The regulations are applied without regard to impact, necessity or proportionality.

Incidental usage is not involve a public service. The vehicle may well be able to be used as such but the other activities are not. The extension of the definition of a public service vehicle to include small van derived buses is also part of the issue. Public Service is taken to mean a regular provision of transport along defined routes.

There is a third class of user, between the unconstrained voluntary group, and transport business, which is the incidental business user and the regulations need to reflect the effect of the burden. Without changing the main thrust of the regulations if the definition of hire and reward reflected the business purpose then it would solve the problems. I can (and have to) use a car incidentally to the activities but cannot use a minibus!

Cost or time incurred:
The business would be able to operate. There would be far fewer vehicle movements with reduced environmental impact.

The low mileage costs of frequent inspections would be less of a burden and would not incur downtime during a programme of activities.

£3,000 per year would be saved directly through not having to register a PSV Operation. This is a significant amount

The D1 licence costs and implications are applied regardless of usage, and there is no recognition of other classes of vehicle such as C or other training such as MiDAS.

If a user can drive exactly the same vehicle carrying passengers under a B or D1(101) licence there is no difference in carrying passengers with a D or D1, particularly where the minibus usage is incidental to the main activity.



Idea - the journey

What's happened so far?
This idea was logged on 27/03/09

What's happening right now?
This idea was rejected. See below for an official response.

What can I expect to happen?
This idea is closed.