Kelvyn Haines disciplined by TC after lending licence authority to revoked operator

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Following a fifth public inquiry, Eastville Coaches’ licence was revoked due to mounting failures in December 2016. CHRIS NEWSOME

O-licence revoked and indefinite disqualification given after Eastville Coaches was allowed to use Kelvyn Haines’ O-licence to run dangerous vehicles

Operator and Transport Manager Kelvyn Terry Haines has seen his O-licence revoked and been disqualified from holding or obtaining an O-licence indefinitely, after allowing his licence authority to be used by another operator with a revoked licence. A Public Inquiry (PI) was held, which Mr Haines did not attend.

Traffic Commissioner (TC) for the West of England, Kevin Rooney, also proposed to disqualify the other operator, Eastville Coaches Ltd, and its director William George Phillips, from holding or obtaining an O-licence or being involved in the transport operations of an entity that holds or obtains such a licence for an indefinite period.

Eastville Coaches Ltd held a standard international PSV O-licence of authorising the use of eight vehicles, which was revoked with effect from December 2016 by Deputy Traffic Commissioner Fiona Harrington after the operator’s fifth PI and a ‘considerable catalogue of failures.’ The controlling mind of Eastville Coaches Ltd was William George (Bill) Phillips. DTC Harrington drew back from disqualifying Mr Phillips from any further involvement in O-licensing, but commented that her decision was very finely balanced.

Kelvyn Terry Haines admitted both in interview under caution and in his statement that he had allowed his licence to be used for Bill Phillips to continue operating vehicles under the style of Eastville Coaches. When vehicles were inspected on December 5, 2017 at St Bede’s School, drivers said the company they worked for was owned by Bill Phillips. On investigation, Traffic Examiner Comer found the insurance for the vehicles was in the name of Eastville Coaches Ltd. Keeper checks on the vehicles showed them registered to Eastville Coaches. Within the operating centre, documents were seen to be signed by ‘Bill.’ When Traffic Examiner Comer called the office to arrange an interview, the phone was answered by an elderly gentleman who refused to give his name and put the phone down, but was later confirmed to be Bill Phillips.

Kevin Rooney commented: “Mr Haines may have thought he was doing a friend a favour by allowing him to use his authority, an authority that is of course not transferable. He had been assured by Mr Phillips that the licence would be run legally, but I have heard that no safety inspections whatsoever had been conducted on the vehicles for over a year.

“Three vehicles were inspected at St Bede’s School in December 17. All received immediate prohibitions. That is to say that each was deemed immediately dangerous to its passengers or to other road users.

“Two vehicles had the drivers ‘door open’ warning device inoperative so a driver would not have been aware should a child have opened an emergency exit. The third vehicle was found with the lower deck rear door catches failed and missing to the extent that the door was likely to fly open. These were vehicles Kelvyn Haines authorised to be used to take children to school.

“As well as being the operator, Kelvyn Haines is also the nominated transport manager. It is apparent from all the evidence, including from the drivers, that he played no part in managing the transport operation whatsoever. In lending his licence discs and his licence authority to a revoked operator, Mr Haines has put the lives of children and others at risk. I have no hesitation in finding that he has lost his good repute as both transport manager and operator.”