§ Mr. Day
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance is given to bus and minibus manufacturers and operators by his Department on the provision of adequate restraint of wheelchairs in buses and minibuses, on the provision of seat belts to restrain wheelchair occupants and on the suitability of various types of wheelchair for carrying occupants in buses and minibuses; what information he has on the extent to which such guidance has been adopted by bus and minibus manufacturers; and what representations he has received with respect to amendments to any existing guidance or codes of practice covering the above issues.
§ Mr. Norris
Guidance is given in a code of practice entitled "The Safety of Passengers in Wheelchairs on Buses". This code of practice is used by vehicle inspectorate certifying officers when examining vehicles, designed for the carriage of passengers in wheelchairs, for public service vehicle certification. The code deals with the restraint of both wheelchairs and their occupants and takes account of the various types and sizes of wheelchair available, including those powered by electricity. The only deviation which has been allowed from the terms of the code is in respect of low-floor buses and we will review the recommendations of the code when trials on these buses are complete.
Information on the extent to which manufacturers have taken up this guidance is not available but we are aware that, in addition to PSVs, local authorities and voluntary groups have adopted the recommendations of the code for vehicles which they operate.