The O-licence held by Starline Coaches Leicester Ltd has been revoked by the Traffic Commissioner (TC) for the East of England, Richard Turfitt, following a Public Inquiry (PI) in Cambridge.
The TC also made an order to disqualify the company from holding or obtaining an O-licence for five years. He ordered his decision to have immediate effect at the conclusion of the PI on April 6, 2016, which the company had failed to attend.
During the PI, the TC noted that a DVSA examiner had found vehicle maintenance standards to be below an acceptable standard. The examiner reported that routine vehicle safety inspections had not taken place on time, vehicle inspection records had not been completed properly, repairs were not signed off as having been undertaken and defects reported by drivers were not marked as rectified.
Additionally, the company had failed to inform DVSA of a major incident involving the loss of a wheel (a legal requirement) and had operated a vehicle without a valid MOT for four months. The company’s vehicle annual test history was also poor.
A separate DVSA investigation revealed the company had failed to take any action on infringements committed by drivers, with no evidence of training for new recruits or existing drivers. All other systems for drivers’ hours and tachograph compliance were satisfactory.
Transport Manager Michael Parker was also examined at the PI. He had written to the TC prior to the hearing to explain that he had resigned from that position in April 2015.
The TC noted that Mr Parker had not been present during the visits made by DVSA in July and October 2015. The company claimed Mr Parker was still acting as transport manager and that he had been paid through petty cash. With no evidence produced, the TC concluded that the transport manager did not have a genuine link to the business.
Richard Turfitt added: “I am satisfied that I have been misled in respect to the position of the Transport Manager.
“It is incumbent upon a responsible operator to notify me of relevant changes. I find that the excuse given to the DVSA examiner when he attempted to conduct his investigation in July 2015, that Mr Parker was on holiday, was not only incorrect but deliberately misleading.”
The TC said there had been serious failings to maintain vehicles in a state that was not only fit and serviceable, but would also ensure the safety of passengers and other members of the public using the roads.
The TC recorded a formal warning against Michael Parker, reminding him that in future he must ensure correspondence about his engagement as a transport manager is properly communicated to the Office of the TC.