County Connect Ltd licence revoked

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The directors of Sevenoaks bus firm County Connect Ltd, Jordan Cousins and Alexander Edwards, have been disqualified from operating vehicles for seven years by the London and South East of England Traffic Commissioner (TC), Sarah Bell.

The TC also revoked the company’s O-licence following a PI in February in Eastbourne which neither of the directors attended.

Sarah Bell said she did not trust the company or either of its directors to operate in a compliant manner.

She also disqualified Alexander Edwards for seven years in his capacity as the firm’s transport manager.

“Mr Edwards failed to exercise continuous and effective management of the compliance systems and instead used part of that time to manipulate the system for commercial gain,” the TC said.

“In doing so, he has shown a reckless disregard for road safety, fair competition and the regulatory regime as a whole. Those are not the actions of a person capable of exercising the important duties of a reputable transport manager.”

In considering the evidence, the TC found that authorised vehicles were not kept at the nominated operating centre and that it had failed to notify the TC’s office.

Jordan Cousins had failed to produce his Driver Qualification Card when stopped at the roadside and the operator had been using more vehicles than it was authorised to operate on the road simultaneously.

The operator was also caught displaying photocopied O-licence discs with intent to deceive and failed to produce records to the DVSA. It failed to comply with undertakings on drivers’ hours and tachograph and even offered a cash incentive to breach the rules.

Registered local services were not operated, with no notice of cancellation, and no proof of financial standing was supplied. Sarah Bell commented: “Few features diminish the gravity of behaviour of Mr Edwards and Mr Cousins,
since the grant of the Licencein 2015.

“In my judgement, the history of the operator and its directors is such that they must be removed from the system for a period to protect the public and the legitimate industry and for them to fully appreciate the consequences of their conduct.”