Historic move welcomed by Welsh industry – and three English regional Traffic Commissioners to redeployed as a result
Wales is to have its own full-time Traffic Commissioner (TC) after the Welsh Government confirmed funding for the post last week.
Mr Jones, who currently divides his time between Wales and the West Midlands, will vacate his role as TC for the West Midlands when he takes up the appointment on October 1, 2016.
As a result, Nick Denton will be redeployed from London and the South East of England London and the South East of England to become the TC for the West Midlands, based in Birmingham. The London & South East TC role will be taken over by Sarah Bell will move from the West of England, who in turn will be replaced by Kevin Rooney. Mr Rooney will retain his role as TC for the North East of England in the interim.
The changes will officially take effect from October 31, but transitional arrangements will be made during the month of October to prepare for the redeployments and ensure that licensing and regulatory activities are not affected.
The news comes after Senior Traffic Commissioner (STC) Beverly Bell announced last week (CBW1252) she is to stand down from next spring. The redeployment of TCs is formally directed by the STC (STC), as set out in the Local Transport Act 2008, in consultation with the appointed TCs.
STC Beverley Bell said: “I congratulate my colleague, Mr Jones, on his appointment as the first, full-time TC for Wales. His commitment to proper regulation in the country is well established and I know his knowledge and expertise will be vital in setting up a full time service for operators and the travelling public.
“I am also confident that the redeployment of my fellow TCs Mr Denton, Miss Bell and Mr Rooney will ensure these three diverse regions continue to be regulated efficiently, effectively and proportionately.”
Explaining the background to Mr Jones’ redeployment, Welsh Government Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates, said: “Since my appointment as Cabinet Secretary, it’s been clear in my discussions with local authorities, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) and others that there was a real appetite for increased capacity for the TC for Wales. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to move quickly to make this a reality. Having a full time TC based in Wales and, in due course, bilingual support staff also based in Wales, as opposed to Birmingham, means increased and more effective engagement with those who provide and maintain our transport networks here in Wales.”
Reacting to the news, John Pockett, Director of CPT Wales told CBW: “CPT Cymru welcomes Mr Jones’ appointment as TC for Wales. This position is something we have called for for many years. We welcome the Welsh Government’s decision. Mr Jones has considerable experience as part-time TC for Wales and knows the country and the industry well. He is also respected for his fairness.
“We look forward to working with him even more closely and to maintaining our established dialogue with him. We wish him well.”
Margaret Everson, Director of Bus Users Cymru (BUC), said: “BUC very much welcomes the establishment of a full-time TC for Wales, and looks forward to continuing to work with Nick Jones to monitor bus operators’ performance, utilising our three, full-time bus compliance officers.”