BODYWORK OF BUSES
Commission opinion on the European Parliament's amendments to the Council's common position on the draft Directive relating to special provisions for vehicles used for the carriage of passengers comprising more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat and amending Directives 70/156 and 97/27/EC.
||Articles 95 and 251(c) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
||20 April 2001|
|Forwarded to the Council:
||23 April 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||20 June 2001|
||Transport, Local Government and the Regions
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 2 July 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
||None; but see (18413) 9734/97: HC 155-xii (1997-98), paragraph 12 (14 January 1998)
|To be discussed in Council:
||Already discussed see below
||Cleared, but further information requested
13.1 This document is the Commission's opinion
on the Parliament's amendments to the Council's common position
on the draft Directive on the bodywork of buses. The aim of the
proposed Directive is to harmonise construction standards for
the interior and bodywork design of buses (defined as vehicles
with more than eight passenger seats) and coaches, to introduce
minimum safety and accessibility standards and to facilitate trade
between Member States.
13.2 The previous Committee first considered
the draft Directive in December 1997 when it considered the Directive
to be politically important but did not clear it due to concerns
about the optional nature of aspects of the Directive. The previous
Committee cleared the Directive at its meeting on 14 January 1998
in the light of further information provided by the then Minister
for Roads in the Department of the Environment, Transport and
the Regions. The Minister sought to keep the previous Committee
updated on the progress of the Directive in a letter of 11 April
2000 which confirmed that concerns peculiar to the UK and Ireland
had been resolved during negotiations. The same letter advised
the previous Committee that a working text of the document (a
copy of which was attached to the letter of 11 April) would be
put before the Council for the adoption of a common position.
The Council subsequently adopted a common position on the Directive
in September 2001. In its consideration of the draft Directive,
the European Parliament proposed several amendments to the Directive
at its second reading on 14 February 2001.
13.3 The Parliament proposed eight amendments
to the Directive, all of which centre on concerns relating to
access and mobility requirements for persons with reduced mobility.
13.4 Amendment 1 inserts a new recital to take
account of the progress achieved in the accessibility of Class
I and II type vehicles for persons with reduced mobility by permitting
existing vehicles of this type to have a steeper slope in certain
parts of the gangway than is allowed for new vehicles.
13.5 Amendment 2, 3 and 5 relate to the permitted
slope of the gangway over the axles of buses.
13.6 Amendment 4 defines the class of persons
with reduced mobility as all persons who have difficulties in
using public transport, such as, for example, the disabled (including
those suffering from sensorial and mental disabilities and wheelchair
users), persons with disabilities affecting their arms and/or
legs, small persons, persons carrying heavy luggage, the elderly,
pregnant women, persons with shopping trolleys and persons with
13.7 Amendment 7 requires the slope of any gangway,
access passage or floor area between any priority seat or wheelchair
space and one entrance and one exit or a combined entrance and
exit to be fitted with a non-slip surface.
13.8 Amendment 8 requires that wheelchair access
doors shall be fitted with a boarding aid which must include a
kneeling system combined with the lift provisions or ramp provisions
in annex 3.11.3 or 3.11.4, unless the design of the local infrastructure
ensures the safe boarding of all persons with reduced mobility,
including wheelchair users.
13.9 The Commission's view is that three of the
amendments (1, 7 and 8) are acceptable as they stand and five
are acceptable in principle. In relation to amendments 2, 3 and
5 concerning the slope of gangways, the Commission suggests that
a transitional period of approximately five years would be necessary.
As concerns amendment 4, the Commission emphasises the importance
of the definition in the common position being strictly identical
to that used internationally, in particular by the United Nations'
Economic Commission for Europe.
The Government's view
13.10 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 2 July
2001, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department
of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (Mr David Jamieson)
"The requirements of
the Directive to which these proposed amendments refer will be
optional and may be used as an alternative to those of existing
"Many of the items included in the proposed
Directive are already regulated for in UK domestic legislation.
The amendments to which this EM refers are beneficial as they
will align the requirements of the proposed Directive nearer to
the current domestic accessibility requirements. There will also
be benefits to industry from common EU standards in this area."
13.11 We welcome the indication that user
groups and public bodies, as well as manufacturers, have been
closely consulted in reaching the common position. We look forward
to being kept informed of the outcome of the conciliation committee,
especially on amendment 4 concerning the definition of passengers
with reduced mobility, and on this basis we are content to clear