Clayton Jones wins new eight-vehicle national O-Licence

Welsh operator ‘in a position to run his operation compliantly’, says TC despite objection from County Borough Council 

Former operator Clayton Jones has won his application for a new eight-vehicle national PSV O-Licence before Traffic Commissioner (TC) Victoria Davies despite an objection from Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council. 

Mr Jones – trading as Street Buses, Pontypridd – who was seeking to act as his own Transport Manager (TM), appeared before the TC at a Pontypridd Public Inquiry. 

The call-up letter set out the areas of concern, including Mr Jones’ O-Licence compliance and application history. The letter also referred to a statutory objection to the application received by letter from Roger Waters, Director of Frontline Services, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council. 

The letter advised Mr Jones that the TC had considered the letter of objection and determined that all the matters raised concerning his previous operations appeared to pre-date the decision of the Upper Tribunal in 2011.

Furthermore, the TC intended to proceed based on the Upper Tribunal findings and would not revisit or admit any evidence in that regard at the inquiry. The call-up letter also indicated that Mr Jones would be expected to demonstrate how he met the requirements to hold an O-Licence. 

In 2011, Clayton Jones’ Heart of Wales Bus and Coach – trading as St David’s Travel, of Caerphilly – won its appeal against the revocation of its 21-vehicle licence and the declaration that the company and Mr Jones as TM had lost their repute.   

The Tribunal said it accepted the case was complicated. However, in its judgment, the inclusion of matters that should not have been included in the TC’s considerations concerning repute – together with their finding that some matters, although rightly included, could not attract significant adverse weight – required it to take a different view about revocation and the company’s repute. 

That meant the findings relating to Mr Jones’ repute as TM must also be set aside because it was the TC’s view that Mr Jones’ loss of repute as TM followed from the conduct that led to the company’s loss of repute.   

In her decision, the TC said that Roger Waters attended the hearing on behalf of the statutory objector to observe proceedings. He was not called to give evidence, but he confirmed that the Council had granted a private hire vehicle licence application by Mr Jones in September 2021. 

Based on the evidence presented to her, the TC considered that Mr Jones was in a position to run his operation compliantly. Mr Jones had taken steps to update his knowledge, including attendance at a TM refresher training course and several Driver CPC training modules. He acknowledged that he had learnt a lot during that process and that things had moved on since he last operated. 

It would be for Mr Jones to demonstrate that he could work with the regulator upon grant of the licence.

Due to his past compliance and application history and length of time out of the industry, in correspondence following the hearing, the TC requested and obtained Mr Jones’ agreement that he would arrange an independent audit to be carried out by the RHA, Logistics UK or other suitable independent body by 13 September 2022. 

The audit would assess the systems for complying with maintenance and drivers’ hours requirements and the effectiveness of those systems. A copy of the audit report, together with his detailed proposals for implementing the report’s recommendations, must be sent to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner for Wales’ Caernarfon office within 14 days of the date when he received it from the auditor.