Although operator is given some merit for the improvement plan put forward, it is eclipsed by the operator’s maintenance failings
The O-licence of 3D Travel, based in Whitehaven, Cumbria, has been revoked by the Traffic Commissioner (TC) for the North West, Simon Evans. The revocation takes effect from October 20, 2017.
The partnership running the business, Peter Kermeen and Elaine Fletcher, were each disqualified from holding or obtaining an O-licence for nine months, while Peter Kermeen lost his repute as transport manager and was disqualified from this role for two years.
The TC highlighted a number of negatives which he said outweighed all of the positive changes the operator had made since it was called to public inquiry. These included:
- Reckless acts by the operator that led to undue risk to road safety or unfair commercial advantage;
- Ineffective management control and insufficient systems and procedures in place to prevent O-licence compliance failings;
- Insufficient and ineffective changes made to ensure future compliance;
- Road safety critical defects on vehicles and a high prohibition rate; and
- Evidence of previous unsatisfactory maintenance investigations and previous public inquiries.
The TC also drew attention to a single day where two thirds of the operator’s fleet was found to be defective and worthy of immediate prohibition – a situation he describes as ‘alarming.’ The defects included maladjustment of brakes, a missing retaining pin which should help to hold a brake pad in position, an insecure flap door on a luggage compartment, an excessively worn brake pad with metal to metal contact observed and tyre damage, with cords exposed on the outer sidewall of the tyre.
The TC commented: “The promises and assurances made in an effort to satisfy me that this licence might continue fall into the category of ‘far too little and far too late’ for me to have any confidence that the operator has turned the corner in terms of compliance, or that compliance can be achieved sustainably in the future.”
The News & Star published a statement from Peter Kermeen, which read: “I am very disappointed by the decision of the TC regarding my operation of vehicles used to provide services to schools and community groups in this area over many years.
“I am in discussions with my legal team regarding an appeal of the decision and of the penalty imposed, which to me is disproportionate and fails to adequately consider changes and improvements in place since the date of the inspections which gave rise to the public inquiry.
“We have served the community for the past 14 years without incident where passengers young and old have been transported safely… I express on behalf of the company that never at any time was there any shortcuts or expense spared in maintenance requirements.
“I am sure that with appropriate changes to our management personnel the understandably rigorous requirements for coach transport operators can be and will be achieved.”