Regulation – transport, storage and distribution sector

Providing bus and coach services

Operators of public service vehicles (PSVs) must obtain an operator’s licence in order to carry fare-paying passengers. The licence allows operators to offer a range of services, such as:

  • Private hire work, where a party of passengers is carried on an outing for a single payment from the organiser of the trip. The passengers must not pay separate fares.
  • Express coach services, where passengers travel at least 15 miles after boarding the vehicle. Passengers can pay separate fares.
  • Long distance excursions or tours, where all the passengers travel at least 15 miles after boarding and then return.

Local bus services

Separate rules apply if you want to offer a local bus service. This is where the route of the service has stopping places of less than 15 miles and passengers pay separate fares. The provisions of the Transport Act 1985 specify that all local bus services outside London must be registered with the local Traffic Commissioner. There are eight traffic areas in Great Britain and you must register the services in each of the areas in which you will run them. You can:

In London, operators who want to offer a local bus service must either:

Operators providing local bus services may be eligible for a number of grants, such as the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG). This reimburses most of the fuel duty paid by the operator. Find out about support for local bus services on the Department for Transport (DfT) website.

Running small PSVs

PSV operators can also run small vehicles – with eight or fewer passenger seats – as PSVs for private hire work, provided this only represents a small part of their business. In these cases a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licence is not required for the vehicle. Application should be made to the Traffic Commissioners.

Providing package tours and holidays

The Package Travel, Package Holiday and Package Tour Regulations 1992 cover the provision of package holidays that include transport, accommodation and other tourist services. In particular they cover the financial security arrangements that must be in place to protect consumers’ money. Read the guidance leaflet on the regulations covering the provision of package tours and holidays on the Trading Standards website.

Playing music and showing films

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 regulates playing music and showing films on coaches. The following licences are required:

  • Performing Right Society (PRS) licence.
  • Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) licence.
  • Video Performance Limited licence.
This document is based on Crown Copyright © 2004-2011
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