NUMBER ONE FOR COACH & BUS

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April 19 2017
By Mike Jewell

Mike Jewell is the industry’s leading legal journalist, covering all key cases brought before Public Inquries, Tribunals, Magistrates and Crown Courts


HDA Travel licence suspended

The licence of HDA Travel has been suspended until the successful appointment of a competent Transport Manager

The two-vehicle national licence held by Gaerwen-based HDA Travel has been suspended by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Jones until a competent qualified Transport Manager (TM) is in place. 

The company, of Lon Groes, Gaerwen, appeared before the TC at a Welshpool Public Inquiry (PI). The TC held that Director and TM Huw Dylan Ashton had lost his repute as a TM, and disqualified him from holding or applying for any TM position in the EU until he passed a new TM examination.

Vehicle Examiner Gwyn Griffiths said that there was no forward planning system in place at the time of his maintenance investigation. The prohibition rate, which included a number of ‘S’ marked prohibitions, was more than three times the national average. Preventative maintenance inspections had not been carried out at the required intervals, there was a lack of records with special concern over brake tests and driver defect reporting had been ineffective with some reports not acted upon. Records had not been kept in one place as required.

It was retained as despite the very significant failings of the controlling mind, Director Huw Dylan Ashton was honest and was not a rogue. He just didn’t have the required skills

Mr Ashton said that the vehicles were not worth much more than scrap. He was not aware of the stable establishment requirement or what it meant. He had qualified for his CPC in March 1987, and had not had any specialist TM training but he had had Driver CPC training. He also undertook a TM role for Gwynfor Coaches. He was not paid for his work for Gwynfor Coaches, as they were family.

Undertakings were given that the two vehicles would have their PMIs as required the following week; and that both vehicles would have full roller brake tests.

Suspending the company’s licence, the TC said that repute was retained albeit only just. It was retained as despite the very significant failings of the controlling mind, Director Huw Dylan Ashton was honest and was not a rogue. He just didn’t have the required skills. A competent TM appointment could allow the licence to continue.

The company had not continuously met financial standing as required, but did have the necessary monies as of the PI. Six months; grace was given to meet financial standing as set out in statutory guidance. 

There would need to be a new competent TM appointed who had continuous and effective management of the transport before the suspension was lifted. Details of the terms of appointment including the contract and the salary paid were to be seen by him and he would need to approve the appointment in writing and might wish to see the individual involved.

He indicated that he would accept the surrender of the HDA Travel licence but reserved the authority to decline a surrender request in the unlikely event that serious issues arose that had not been brought to his attention. 

The TC said that as one of the three partners in Gwynfor Coaches had died, the remaining partners would need to apply for a new licence and there would be a need for a new TM.




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