Transport manager loses tribunal appeal against disqualification

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David Randle, Transport Manager of Consult Sol Limited – which traded as Williams Coaches – has lost a Traffic Commissioner appeal against his disqualification.

Back in 2016, the then-Traffic Commissioner considered an application to increase the company’s authorised number of vehicles to 12, following an unsatisfactory maintenance investigation.

As a result, their license authorisation was reduced to three vehicles, and Ian Shepherd – the operator’s Transport Manager at the time – was disqualified for six months.

David was then appointed as Transport Manager on August 4 2016, but the company continued to operate six registered vehicles despite losing its authorisation to do so.

Following observations from Traffic Examiner Kathrine Cox – during which it was noted that Consult Sol Ltd had lent a disc to another local operator with no hire agreement in place.

Subsequently, in February 2017 Traffic and Vehicle examiners visited Consult Sol Ltd’s depot; nobody was present from the company but four vehicles were seen in Williams Coaches’ livery displaying license discs in the name of Bennetts Travel Ltd – which led to an investigation.

David Randle later described suffering ill health in relation to his heart – leading to his resignation from the company and failure to attend the first public hearing on the matter.

The Traffic Commissioner’s original decision, made on September 7, 2017, found that David had lost his good repute and that he should be disqualified for two years; “He has failed, over a period of several months, to exercise continuous and effective management of the transport activities of the businesses (in practice one business),” read the written decision.

David’s grounds of appeal were as follows: “Disproportionate punishment for offence. Incorrect information given to the TC on which he acted upon in my absence. Company failed to present records at PI, TC punished me on records he had not seen, I could not present them as I had resigned 10 months before PI date.

“I only worked as external transport manager for 4/5 months, visiting the companies on an eight hour per week basis as per DOT requirements. I had resigned before any VOSA investigation had started.”

Her Hon. Judge J Beech, however, who oversaw the appeal, was satisfied that the original Traffic Commissioner’s verdict should stand, dismissing the appeal on May 14.