Cornwall Busways loses appeal

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An appeal by Cornwall Busways Ltd against a licence revocation and fine has been dismissed.

The operator had its licence revoked for failing to operate the number 29 service from St Austell to Bodmin. The operator had refused to operate the service during the 56 day notice period because a competing service had been introduced by Western Greyhound, which it claimed had been ‘fast tracked’ despite the council not requesting it and was being operated illegally. He said service was 29 was ‘losing £5,000 a week’ as a result.

However, Traffic Commissioner Nick Jones said commercial factors could not be considered for a short notice cancelation and revoked the licence, fining the company £300.

Nicholas Siddaway, the sole director of the appellant company, had attempted to surrender the O-licence prior to the public inquiry, which was refused by the traffic commissioner.

The grounds for appeal were that the Traffic Commissioner was bound to accept the surrender of the licence and that he therefore had no power to revoke the licence or to impose a penalty, and that the actions of the Traffic Commissioner for the West of England and her office put the Appellant in a position where it had no alternative but to cease to operate service 29.

The tribunal said that the operator could have reasonably foreseen the competition and that there was not sufficiently compelling material to call into question the judicial decision to allow Western Greyhound to vary its service at short notice. The appeal was therefore dismissed, though the operator has said it will publically campaign to discredit the system.