Norwich-based coach company Peoplemovers (East Anglia) Ltd has lost its O-licence after being convicted of serious infringements.
The order from Richard Turfitt, Traffic Commissioner for the East of England, comes after he heard the business was fined by Norwich Magistrates’ Court for three offences, two of which are classed as most serious infringements under EU regulations.
The operator also did not provide evidence to satisfy the mandatory financial standing requirement and prior to the hearing, Director Mark Harvey alerted the Office of the TC that he would not be attending on the day.
In his absence, Mr Turfitt examined the offences committed by the company.
On September 19, 2012 VOSA officers encountered a minibus operating on University Drive in Norwich.
After five passengers had departed the vehicle, the driver, Julie Harvey, confirmed she was working for Peoplemovers (East Anglia) Ltd and had provided transport from the University of East Anglia to the student halls of residence.
The VOSA officer noted the minibus was not displaying an operator’s licence disc, as required. It was also not fitted with tachograph recording equipment.
In addition, checks on Mrs Harvey’s driving licence revealed she was not allowed to drive the vehicle when carrying passengers for hire or reward.
Records available to the examiner also confirmed the vehicle did not have a valid MOT or certificate of initial fitness.
During a subsequent interview about the incident, the company’s Director and Transport Manager, Mark Harvey, told the examiner he thought the vehicle was operating on a private road, owned by the university.
This led him to believe the vehicle did not fall under the normal operator and driver licence requirements.
The VOSA examiner reported to Mr Turfitt that University Drive can be accessed by the public and is used by bus operators as a route to transport university students.
In correspondence to the TC’s Office, following the prosecution, Mr Harvey said that although his firm had originally quoted a price to the university, they did not actually charge them for the journey.
Operator licence regulations come into force when a business takes a payment for transporting passengers.
Norwich Magistrates’ Court fined the company £1,200 on February 7, 2013 after it pleaded guilty to three offences – cause/permit drive not in accordance with a licence, use a motor vehicle without a test certificate and fail to exhibit on a public passenger vehicle an operator’s licence disc.
Mr Turfitt also took account of two prohibitions issued to a vehicle with brake defects. In reaching his decision to revoke the licence and in deciding not to disqualify those involved, the TC took into account the operator’s early notification. His order took immediate effect.