Public, Community & School Transport

Welcome to PATS

Passenger assistant logo

About the scheme:

PATS Training - the different modules:

A step by step guide to how PATS works:

Some questions answered


  • is designed for schools, voluntary organisations, healthcare providers, commercial transport companies, community transport operators and council departments who have care or supervision of passengers travelling by road - in cars, taxis, minicabs, minibuses or large buses

  • is relevant to volunteers as well as paid staff

  • covers legal, practical and safety issues – a comprehensive training package

  • aims to improve  passenger safety by providing the skills and information for passenger assistants to understand and meet the needs of their passengers

  • has been developed jointly by Hampshire County Council and the Community Transport Association


PATS: Become a member

  • Access to PATS training is gained by your organisation becoming a PATS member

  • Membership is open to schools, voluntary organisations, healthcare providers, commercial transport companies, community transport operators and council departments.

  • PATS training is firstly given to the person in your organisation who will be responsible for training your passenger assistants

  • This person, called a Passenger Assistant Trainer, then has the skills and information to train passenger assistants. PATS training is divided into different sections, called modules.  These relate to different aspects of the work which passenger assistants usually do – some work only with children, others with adults who have disabilities, and so on.

  • Before they are trained passenger assistants must have their training needs assessed, taking into account any training they have already had and the needs of the passengers they work with.  

  • Written material is available to back up all training courses.  Copies of the Passenger Assistant’s Handbook, produced especially for PATS, can also be ordered.

  • As a PATS member your organisation must accept the certificates of passenger assistants who were trained by other PATS members as evidence of the training they have already received.


A step by step guide to how PATS works:

1.    Appointing a Passenger Trainer

This is the person who will train your passenger assistants so it is vital that the right person is selected for the job.   It is essential they have good training skills.  Someone who is very knowledgeable won’t necessarily make a good trainer unless they have the ability to pass on the information and skills to other people.  So select your Passenger Assistant Trainer on the basis of their good presentation and training skills as well as their relevant experience.

You may decide  to appoint more than one Passenger Assistant Trainer, especially if you have a large number of passenger assistants.

If you can’t find a suitable Passenger Assistant Trainer within your organisation there is another option – getting another organisation to train passenger assistants on your behalf.

2.    Assessing the training needs of your Passenger Assistants

The person responsible for managing or organising the work of your passenger assistants needs to assess the training needs of the passenger assistants, taking into account:

  • any training they have already had
  • the needs of the passengers they work with
This will help to identify which PATS training modules they need to complete.

3.    Training your Passenger Assistant Trainer

Your Passenger Assistant Trainer (PAT) can attend training courses to deliver either Module A alone or A, B, C1 and C2. After successful completion of the theory assessment at the end of the course, a 4 year trainer’s certificate will be issued.

4.    Incorporating your organisation's policies and procedures in the training for your Passenger Assistants

Different organisations will have different working arrangements – for example reporting systems, who does what on the vehicle – and different types of equipment.  Your Passenger Assistant Trainer must take this into account when preparing to run a course, so that the general advice in the PATS modules is tailored to your organisation – the duties of your passenger assistants, the procedures and practices they follow and the types of vehicle and equipment they work with.    Your Passenger Assistant Trainer will be trained to incorporate this in the training courses they run.

5.    The Passenger Assistant Trainer trains the Passenger Assistants

Using the training material provided by PATS the Passenger Assistant Trainer is now able to run training courses.  The passenger assistants need to successfully complete  a multiple choice theory assessment at the end of their course, before they are issued with a certificate.  They can also be issued with a Passenger Assistant’s Handbook.

6.    Keeping up to date

Passenger Assistant Trainers need refresher training every 4 years to ensure that their skills and information are up to date and up to standard.

Passenger assistants do not have to renew their certificates in this way  but their manager must review their training needs periodically, to identify whether any change in circumstances means that they need additional training.

PATS may also send out information or updates to members from time to time, when legislation or best practice changes.  This information may need to be disseminated to passenger assistants.


Some questions answered

Is PATS only for paid staff?  What about volunteers?

PATS is for paid staff and volunteers. Each organisation has a duty of care – to volunteers as well as paid staff. So PATS training is equally relevant to volunteers.

Is PATS relevant for drivers too?

Yes, especially if the driver also acts as passenger assistant, or where the driver and passenger assistant work together closely as a team.

Can PATS modules be taken at different times?

Yes.  Module A is the foundation module, the starting point for further training. A passenger assistant can add other modules at any time.  For example, if they currently work with children with special needs but their job changes to include older people with dementia they will need to add module C2 to their existing modules A, B and C1.


Do all of our existing Passenger Assistants have to be retrained to PATS standards?

This is recommended but is not a requirement of PATS membership.  It is for your organisation to assess the training needs of your passenger assistants.

If I recruit a passenger assistant who has already been PATS-trained by another organisation, do they need any further training?

You must accept their PATS certificate as evidence of the training they have received.  But they will need some local familiarisation as their duties, procedures, vehicles and equipment may be different from where they worked before.

How much time will be involved for the Passenger Assistant Trainer?

To become a Passenger Assistant Trainer will take 1½  days (for Module A only) or 3 days (Modules A, B, C1 and C2).


How long will it take to train Passenger Assistants?

For the Passenger Assistant Trainer to deliver the modules to passenger assistants will take at least:

  • Module A:3 hours
  • Module B:2 hours 35 mins
  • Module C1:1 hour 20 mins
  • Module C2:1 hour 20 mins

These times exclude lunch and other breaks.  Individual trainers may take longer depending on their personal style, practical demonstrations and the size of the group of passenger assistants they are training.


How much will it cost?

Current costs are available by contacting PATS.

How does my organisation join the scheme?

Please send an e-mail to PATS. We will then send you a membership pack.

Why should my organisation choose PATS?

PATS covers legal, practical and safety issues, presented in an easily understood form. It is a comprehensive training package, developed by experts in this field.


For more information, please contact PATs - Hampshire County Council on 01962 846785 or email