§ Ms. Walley
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set out the maximum weight restrictions and maximum passenger capacity over and above the maximum seating capacity of a double decker bus hired out for private charter; and how these limits are enforced.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
The carrying capacity of a bus or coach used for hire or reward as a public service vehicle for both seated and standing passengers, as determined in accordance with regulations by one of the Department of Transport's certifying officers, must be marked on the vehicle. It is an offence to carry more passengers on a PSV than it has been certified to carry, except that three seated children, each of whom was under 14 at the beginning of the school year, may count as two passengers. Standing passengers are not allowed on the upper deck of a double-decked PSV. Enforcement is a matter for the Department's traffic examiners and the police.
The potential maximum operational weight of a PSV is taken into account by the certifying officer when determining its carrying capacity, so that under normal circumstances a PSV should never exceed whichever is the lower of either its maximum design weight or the national weight limits. Enforcement by means of in-use weight checks, other than the checks carried out at certification, has not been considered necessary.