Driver disciplined for allowing school children to travel in luggage compartment of his coach

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TC revokes licence with immediate effect

Richard Short, a driver at South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach Company, has had his PCV licence revoked after allowing school children to ride in the luggage compartment of the coach he was driving.

He has also been disqualified from holding a PCV licence for 10 years.

The Office of the Traffic Commissioner had previously been notified by the Director of South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach Company that Richard had been dismissed from his driving duties.

On 12 June, CCTV footage showed him allowing children to sit in the coach’s luggage compartment while he drove for ‘approximately 20 seconds.’

After reviewing the CCTV evidence, Traffic Commissioner for the West of England, Kevin Rooney, called Richard to a public inquiry.

The TC noted that, on the morning run, one child was allowed to enter the luggage compartment for around a minute and a half.

Later on, in the afternoon, seven children entered the luggage compartment and travelled for around three minutes.

“There are multiple occasions of a child stood alongside the driver whilst he is driving,” read the TC’s report.

“During the afternoon incident, Mr Short appears to be laughing and smiling. He appears relaxed.”

Richard attended the hearing unrepresented, and explained to the TC that he had been driving buses and coaches since May 2000, starting out his career with First.

Some of the children on the regular school service – which ran between St Gregory’s Catholic College in Bath and Keynsham – were ‘very demanding’ according to Richard, and saw the service as an excuse to wind him up.

The TC continued: “Mr Short referred to one child as the ‘ringleader’ who had wanted to travel in the luggage compartment. He had been continually pestered by this ringleader. Other children also pestered him.

“At the time, he had been suffering stress in his personal life with his mother being very ill. He had asked for time off, but this had been refused due to a shortage of drivers. His employers were thus aware of his situation.

“On the morning run, it was just the ringleader. He thought that, if he allowed him to travel in the lockers once then that would be the end of it. He gave in, in a ‘moment of madness.’

“On the afternoon run, several more kids along with the ringleader wanted to travel in the lockers. They constantly distracted him, and he had stopped the vehicle a number of times. The ringleader had been swearing and shouting at him.

“I put it to Mr Short that he appeared relaxed and to be laughing and joking whilst the children were travelling in the lockers. He told me that he had a tendency to shake his head and smile when he knew he had done something stupid.”

The TC elected not to refuse Richard’s application for an LGV license, as “his actions were as a result of him carrying children who clearly induced him to lose his professionalism.”