New City Taxis has its restricted O-Licence revoked and three vehicle O-Licence granted; improper operation was due to ‘lack of expertise’ says Deputy Traffic Commissioner
Though revoking the two vehicle restricted O-Licence held by Preston based New City Taxis, Deputy Traffic Commissioner (DTC) Simon Evans indicated he would grant the company a three vehicle national O-Licence saying that he was satisfied that improper operation had not been a concerted attempt to obtain a competitive advantage.
The company had been called before the DTC following the revocation of a two-vehicle restricted O-Licence held by Walter Jones, trading as VIP Taxis – the husband of Jane Jones, one of New City Taxis’ Directors, last December. Mr Jones had said that the two businesses had merged and that he was a ‘shadow Director’ of New City.
The DTC said that he was aware that New City had applied for a six-vehicle national O-Licence on the grant of which the existing O-Licence would be surrendered. Concerns had been raised by Lancashire County Council over the operation of school contracts. They considered that there was no separation between the businesses and all monies had been paid to New City.
Director James Beck said he had started the company 10 or 12 years ago. Mrs Jones came into the business as they applied for a PSV O-Licence. Her husband said that he also had two PSVs, and if they had any extra work, requested that it be passed to him. When he was told by a County Council official that four vehicles could not do the New City work, they stopped it and just operated their own two vehicles.
The local authority took two of the contracts away from them. It had been a steep learning curve.
After the DTC had said that Walter Jones had accepted that the two businesses were one and that there was no sub-contract, Mr Beck denied that was the case, saying there was no formal sub-contract as it was Mrs Jones’ husband. He denied that the VIP vehicles had stickers on the side showing New City.
Mrs Jones said that they obtained four school contracts in September 2018 and that was when they asked her husband to do two of them. He had used his own vehicles. Her husband was not working in the business now. If they were granted a national O-Licence their Transport Manager (TM) would work 10 hours a week.
Revoking the existing O-Licence the DTC said that he was satisfied that what had occurred had been due to negligence and a lack of expertise, indicating he would be prepared to grant the new O-Licence for three vehicles as there would be qualified TM.
He imposed conditions that only three minibuses be kept at the operating centre because of concerns over its size and that Walter Jones play no part whatsoever in the business.
He received an undertaking that both Directors would undertake a PSV licensing awareness course lasting at least a day before the end of June. He warned that this was the company’s second chance and that a third chance was unlikely.