Fye’s Executive Travel Ltd, trading as Cleator Bus Cumbria, has had its operator’s licence revoked by the Traffic Commissioner (TC) for the North West of England, Simon Evans.
The company, which was licenced to operate five vehicles, was brought before the TC following a maintenance investigation carried out by Vehicle Examiner (VE) Grieve in January.
The VE reached the following conclusions after conducting the investigation:
The issue of three immediate prohibitions to the operator’s vehicles during the check;
Unsatisfactory vehicle maintenance arrangements with incomplete records;
Haphazard brake testing;
Unnotified changes of maintenance contractor;
Inadequacies in forward planning; and
Ineffective driver first use checks and defect reporting.
It also surfaced that the firm’s Transport Manager (TM) had left in September 2018; nobody was made aware of their departure, and at the time of the TC publishing his written decision there was still no TM appointed.
Following the TM’s departure, the company applied for a restricted licence to reduce the number of local authority contracts it provides using PSVs.
The company also has a private hire business using vehicles with eight seats or less authorised under local authority licences, which mostly handles social services contracted work.
After hearing evidence from sole Director Paula Fye and her husband (and General Manager) Donald Fye, the TC concluded the following: “I have concluded, on balance, these circumstances have arisen through ignorant failure, a lack of thorough understanding of licence expectations and the Director’s naïve neglect of her responsibility to properly manage compliance.
“Too many unjustified assumptions have been made by her. This state of affairs has been compounded by the absence of a properly functioning TM and the illness of Donald Fye.”
Weighing up the VE’s findings against the operator’s previous good history, the TC found that the operator’s repute had, “by a narrow margin,” not been lost.
However, he added: “Financial standing has not been satisfied, there is no TM and the serious findings of the VE cannot be ignored.
“The licence will be revoked but a short period may be permitted so that this may coincide with the end of the school year.”
Regarding the application for a restricted licence, the TC “signalled a readiness” to grant the licence to coincide with the revocation of the previous one, as long as the company is able to comply with the expectations that are associated with it.
He also specified that Paula Fye must attend an OLAT course before the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, and that the operator must submit to an independent external audit of compliance for its restricted licence operations in January 2020, for presentation to the TC by 15 February 2020.
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