Seven year disqualification for Sandwell Travel director

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The owner of a Tipton-based Sandwell Travel – which ran services in Walsall, Birmingham, Bilston, Darlaston, Brownhills, Willenhall and West Bromwich – has been disqualified from the industry for seven years by Traffic Commissioner (TC) for the West Midlands, Nick Denton.
Sukhwinder Singh was also disqualified indefinitely from acting as a transport manager, following a public inquiry which saw the operator’s licence revoked with effect from October 9, 2017.

The TC also said that any future application involving Sukhwinder Singh’s son, Satwinder Singh, who has clearly been associated with the licence, be referred to a TC for consideration.

Investigations by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) revealed a number of issues, which included:

  • Some vehicles operated by the company not being given safety inspections on time – in one instance, there was a 45 week gap between checks;
  •  An 83% failure rate for vehicle MOTs;
  •  The lack of any experienced or mechanically qualified staff since October 2016, despite vehicles being serviced on site;
  •  18 out of 21 bus journeys for the 336 service running to Bradford Place in Walsall not operating during observations; and
  •  24 out of 148 bus journeys for the 333X service running from Walsall Bus Station to Willenhall failed to operate according to punctuality and reliability standards.

The TC said Mr Singh had ‘signally failed to ensure the proper maintenance of the company’s vehicles’ and also found that bus services had not run according to punctuality and reliability standards.

Sandwell Travel Ltd held a standard national PSV O-licence for five vehicles, which was granted in August 2010.

He added: “Unqualified maintenance staff have been employed, vehicle inspections missed, and a wholly inappropriate wheelnut tightening procedure practised. The MOT failure rate is appalling, and it is of great concern that Mr Singh actually thought it was good.”

On the subject of a wheel loss incident on a busy A road in November 2016, Nick Denton added: “It is only by good luck that serious injury or worse was not caused.

“Mr Singh’s failure to appear at the inquiry, or even to offer an explanation for his non-appearance, shows that he does not take the regulatory regime, or compliance, seriously.”