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June 19 2019
By The routeone team

The routeone team is dedicated to bringing you the latest bus & coach industry news, views, jobs and more.

A broken system

Leon Daniel’s article [routeone/Industry Insight/5 June] is very interesting and, upon first reading, colleagues thought it had been written by Mobility Matters or the CTA.

However, it is important to say that commercial O-Licensed operators understand that people living in the rural areas must not socially excluded and that transport is a must for trips to vital services.

This can be provided by local charities run and operated by volunteers under Section 19 permits and that is why this system was set up.

Over the years, local authorities have encouraged local charities with grants and new minibuses to enter public tenders.

Some of these groups have now morphed into massive transport entities with one group in the West Midlands now having 700 permits, turning over tens of millions of pounds. As for surpluses being re-invested in the communities you would be hard pressed to find any evidence of this.

The permit system is totally broken. Nobody at the DfT has a clue of how many permits are in operation.

CILT states that there are 8,000 CT operators undertaking 40m trips per annum and this with no statutory oversight whatsoever.

In 2009 ROSPA stated that 90,000 permits were in circulation with 3,000 and 5,000 issued each year. It is estimated that there are currently 140,000 permits in circulation, and the PSV industry has 94,000 operator discs in issue with 8,700 O-Licences in issue.

With regards to the MiDAS certificate, it has no standing in law whatsoever unlike the Drivers CPC.

It should also be clearly understood that anyone without any professional qualifications whatsoever, or any of the vitally important background and financial checks that a commercial operator has to undertake, can set up a permit operation for as little as a £100 and be on the public highway carrying the society’s most vulnerable people.

Mobility Matters has admitted that the current system is flawed and agrees that there will be some CT operators who require an O-Licence and their drivers a D1 and a Driver CPC card.

Clearly, Mobility Matters recognises that CT groups who are engaged in commercial activity that is their main occupation need to comply with the legislation.

Ian Ashman, A and J Coaches (retired)

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