Joan Aitken, Traffic Commissioner (TC) for Scotland, has imposed a £10,000 financial penalty on Stagecoach in the Highlands following an incident in which a Stagecoach vehicle lost a wheel in Caithness.
The incident occurred on February 4 this year on the A836 Castletown route, and led the Scottish TC to conclude that there had been failings in the operator’s maintenance systems.
Miss Aitken commented: “Fortunately, no passengers were on board at the time and the detached wheel did not cause injury to any persons.
“I was dismayed to have received the report about this wheel loss, especially in relation to a service bus. Compliant and punctual local bus services play a vital role in the ability of the travelling public to go about their daily journeys. A bus going out of service through wheel loss causes inconvenience to all.”
The TC added that the loss of a wheel was not a reasonable excuse for the disruption of a local service, however, she also noted that the loss of a wheel is an incredibly serious matter, given that the consequences can be catastrophic, and can occasionally be fatal.
The £10,000 financial penalty was applied as a mark of the TC’s displeasure regarding the incident, and to display the need for full vigilance in relation to wheel security.
Highland Country Buses Ltd, trading as Stagecoach in the Highlands, is required to pay the penalty by June 30 this year.