TC gives clear steer to those looking to run minibuses

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Individuals looking to run part-time minibus operations must provide proof of their main occupation or else be refused permission to carry passengers.

East of England Traffic Commissioner (TC) Richard Turfitt issued this reminder after two applications were turned down this month at separate public inquiries. Both applicants failed to give sufficient evidence of their main employment to prove to the TC they would only be operating minibuses part-time.

Anyone applying for a restricted PSV licence – which gives permission to run a maximum of two vehicles with nine to 16 passenger seats – must have another, main occupation. Other operations require a standard national or international licence, subjected to higher financial tests. They must also be professionally competent.

In one of the Public Inquiries (PIs), a Leicester taxi driver’s application to operate two vehicles was considered. The initial application indicated the vehicle would be used two days per week. Correspondence subsequently received by the Office of the Traffic Commissioners claimed the applicant’s main occupation was trading cars on a part-time basis. He also worked delivering goods. The licence, he added, would be used to transport children and elderly people out on day trips at the weekend, averaging between 14 and 18 hours.

At the PI on Wednesday, May 1, Mr Turfitt examined the application, including a single page document of accounts referring to a minibus trading name. However, the paperwork was insufficient, with no specific evidence of the applicant’s main occupation.

The second case, which came before a Deputy TC on May 9, involved a taxi driver from High Wycombe.

The individual was looking to tender for school contracts with two minibuses and reduce his hours as a private hire driver. He predicted minibus work would amount to around 15 hours per week.

After hearing further evidence from the applicant, the Deputy TC said she was not satisfied he would meet the criteria for holding a restricted licence.

Reminding applicants of the requirements for holding a restricted PSV licence, Mr Turfitt said: “Even if someone is intending to operate a minibus as a sideline to their main occupation they have to meet the O-licence requirements, otherwise TCs cannot grant them permission to use those vehicles for passenger transport.

“Legitimate and full-time operators in the industry expect to work on a level playing field, especially if they have met additional requirements to obtain a licence.

“To hold a restricted licence the applicant must have a main occupation other than the operation of Public Service Vehicles. Applicants need to make sure they have sufficient proof of their main occupation before submitting proposals. A bland statement committing a number of hours is unlikely to be enough to satisfy a TC’s legal requirements are met.”