The Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE) has questioned the industry’s capacity to self regulate, following an instance of three school buses being taken off the road in Bristol after inspectors found them all to be in a dangerous condition.
Despite losing his O-licence a year earlier, Bill Phillips of Eastville Coaches continued to run the company by moving his licence into the name of another individual, Kelvyn Haines. In this case, inspections were not carried out on the vehicles for over a year even though they were regularly transporting children to school. A spot inspection of the buses as they dropped children at school highlighted a number of problems that prompted inspectors to take them out of service immediately.
John Parry, Chair of the Irtec Steering Group, said: “In this instance, the operator does not have the right attitude to be running a fleet of PSVs. This time they were lucky, but how many other operators are out there running vehicles for the public without any safety standards in place?
“In the absence of regulation, my advice would be to make an Irtec licence for technicians a requirement for all operators of PSVs, and that they maintain those vehicles in workshops that are accredited by IRTE. It’s become too important to ignore this any longer.
“Any member of the public, trained in vehicle maintenance or not, can try and fix a school bus – or any bus for that matter. Without regulation, which still does not seem likely, all we can do is make sure that individuals working on these vehicles are accredited to minimum standard. The Irtec licence gives this assurance and proves best practice procedures are in place.”