FORS, the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme, has strengthened its remit in the passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) sector. FORS, now established as the go-to accreditation scheme in the commercial vehicle sector, with well in excess of 5,000 members, has further developed its offering for bus and coach operators.
FORS is now in its 11th year of operation, and has grown from a small, yet highly motivated collective of best practice-minded operators joining a new scheme created by Transport for London (TfL), to become nationwide boasting an ever-growing membership which represents the full spectrum of the transport operating industry.
The success of FORS can attributed to its ability to remain relevant to operators, updating its accreditation requirements – as set out in The FORS Standard – every two years to allow for legislative changes and working closely with members to deliver on its promise of providing a clear route to increased safety, efficiency and environmental protection across road transport.
These changes to FORS are testament to the growing diversity of its members and the organisation’s continued goal to provide specific guidance for sectors with differing needs. FORS Director John Hix explains, “Bus and Coach operators, or those which operate passenger carrying vehicles have a lot to gain from FORS membership.
“As FORS members in the haulage sector know, following our progressive accreditation will not only increase operational efficiencies for fleets and help ensure best safety practices for drivers and passengers, but it will also ensure members are able to be prepared to meet new environmental legislative changes coming into force.”
FORS members include commercial vehicle operators of any size and make-up, with provision for all commercial vehicles, from mopeds and motorcycles, cars, vans and light commercial vehicles, to heavy goods vehicles and buses and coaches, all supported by a comprehensive package of funded and discounted training.
John Hix said, “Urban passenger carrying fleet managers are well aware of the need for increased environmental efficiencies, with local authorities charged with improving air pollution in our towns and cities. FORS can help operators reduce fuel use and vehicle emissions, while keeping passengers, drivers and other road users safe.”
The FORS Standard
The revised FORS Standard came into effect in January 2019, bringing with it provision to cater for such diverse membership needs, including the compliance challenges of the bus and coach sector, at all three stages of the FORS progressive accreditation, from entry-level FORS Bronze, to FORS Silver and on to FORS Gold.
A new requirement at FORS Bronze has been put in place to ensure accessibility, comfort and safety for all passengers, demonstrated via a passenger safety policy, including the need for clear on-vehicle signage and adequate access for all passengers.
In addition, load safety requirements are now set out by vehicle type, for heavy goods vehicles, vans powered two-wheelers and passenger carrying vehicles. PCV fleets must also commit to ensuring a robust Fuel Emissions and Air Quality policy is in place, to reduce vehicle emissions.
FORS Silver – the second stage of FORS accreditation – also includes a commitment to tackle noise pollution. Operators seeking FORS Silver accreditation must complete noise assessments at operating centres and noise sensitive locations in a bid to minimise noise pollution and its impact on local communities.
John Hix added, “FORS is about raising standards of operation across road transport, and we are proud of the successes we have had to date. We welcome bus and coach operators on-board and look forward to the successes FORS will bring to this growing sector.”