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Distinctive Systems
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October 18 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel was routeONE magazine’s Editor until autumn 2018. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

First steps in Welsh regulation
provide opportunities

The potential for the Welsh Government to make changes to benefit the public, by using its devolved powers, have been highlighted by Nick Jones, the new full-time Traffic Commissioner (TC) for Wales.

Mr Jones suggests that all bus drivers could be DBS checked

Welsh Government funding has created the full-time TC post (previously part-time) along with a commitment to provide offices and bilingual staff.

In his 5,000 word report, Mr Jones notes that the Law Commission review on taxi and private hire legislation made a number of recommendations that could be implemented as a result of the Wales Act.

Importantly, changes can be introduced that suit the people of Wales, including a closer alignment of taxi and private hire vehicles licensed by local authorities and PSVs licensed by a TC.”

He adds: “There might be greater clarity if, in the new devolved structure, the TC for Wales was an appeal body determining fitness for private hire and taxi drivers, as well as PSV an HGV vocational licence holders,” says Mr Jones.

He examines the issue of the lack for ‘portability’ for DBS checks, meaning that hundreds of drivers currently have to have multiple checks in neighbouring authorities.

He suggests a new pan-Wales body to administer checks on behalf of all licensing bodies within Wales, with authorisations being required for anyone involved in passenger transport.

He also suggests that all bus drivers could be DBS checked, with a higher rate of Bus Service Support Grant  (BSSG) paid.

“For the avoidance of doubt, whether or not DBS checks are compulsory for PSV drivers is not a devolved matter, however payment or otherwise of BSSG is devolved; potentially, Wales could lead the way.”

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