The TC is to deliver his decision regarding an increase in licence authorisation in writing following the acquisition
Stanley Gath Travel was acquired by the daughter of the directors of M Travel, whose licence was revoked, so that the business could continue, Traffic Commisisoner (TC) Kevin Rooney was told at a Leeds Public Inquiry.
In addition to considering regulatory action against the company, now trading as M Travel, the TC also had before him an application to increase the authorisation on the licence from eight to 12 vehicles.
In April the TC revoked M Travel’s 26-vehicle international licence and disqualified the company and its directors Darren Mayes and Margaret Brown from holding a PSV O-Licence, and its Transport Manager (TM) Anthony Dee from acting as a TM until he had retaken a TM’s CPC qualification course.
Hannah Mayes, sole Director of Stanley Gath, said that she had been an employee of M Travel, which was owned by her mother and father. Initially a new company, M Travel 2017, was formed to continue the business but it would not have been able to obtain interim authority to commence operation.
However, an opportunity arose to buy Stanley Gath so that the business could continue without a break. She had effectively bought a shell company to continue the business. Her father had found out that it was for sale and he provided the funds for the purchase.
No assets, liabilities or customers were included in the sale. The vehicles were former M Travel vehicles and were being operated from the same premises. The vehicles and premises were rented to her by M Travel.
In the main, it was former M Travel employees that were employed. The services operated were the ones operated by M Travel. She was the sole shareholder. She was aware of the issues with M Travel and there was now a significant difference. She had taken the TM CPC course and was awaiting the results.
Antony Dee had taken a refresher course and had regained his repute. He was now employed as the Commercial Manager. The input of Transport Consultant Scott Walker, who had undertaken driver training, would continue.
The TC commented he had refused to stay his decision on M Travel after the company appealed because he considered it a danger to the public. Miss Mayes went out and bought a company and just carried on – she had effectively bought an O-Licence.
These were the same fitters and same 15-year old vehicles. At the M Travel hearing a Vehicle Examiner had reported that when he tried the emergency door on a double-decker, it was so corroded that it fell off.
Mr Walker said that the attitude of the fitters had changed, as there was now more support for the maintenance team. He felt that the standards were now much higher. Miss Mayes was managing the business in a completely different way.
Indicating he would put his decision in writing, the TC said that the key issue was whether the revocation of the M Travel licence had been circumvented. He needed to reflect upon what had happened.