Allowing his licence to be used by what was described by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney as “a dangerous operator who put children’s lives at risk”, led to Kelvyn Haines being disqualified indefinitely from holding or obtaining a PSV O-Licence after the TC revoked his international licence.
Bristol-based Mr Haines, trading as KT Travel, had been called before the TC after allowing his licence to be used by Bill Phillips, sole Director of Eastville Coaches, but failed to attend a Bristol Public Inquiry (PI).
The TC said that Eastville Coaches held an eight-vehicle international licence, but it was revoked with effect from December 2016 by Deputy Traffic Commissioner (DTC) Fiona Harrington. It was that operator’s fifth PI. The catalogue of failures was considerable. DTC Harrington drew back from disqualifying Mr Phillips from any further involvement in operator licensing but commented that her decision was very finely balanced.
Vehicle Examiner Graham Reid said that three vehicles displaying KT Travel licence discs were inspected at St Bede’s School in December. The drivers said that the company they worked for was owned by Mr Phillips. All vehicles received immediate prohibitions.
Two of the vehicles’ drivers’ “door open” warning device were inoperative, so a driver would not have been aware should a child have opened an emergency exit. The third vehicle was found with failing lower deck rear door catches and missing to the extent that the door was likely to fly open. No safety inspections whatsoever had been conducted on the vehicles for over a year.
Traffic Examiner Amy Comer said that she had found the insurance for the vehicles was in the name of Eastville Coaches. Keeper checks on the vehicles showed them registered to Eastville Coaches Ltd or Eastville Coaches. When she called the office to arrange an interview, the phone was answered by an elderly gentleman who refused to give his name and put the phone down. On visiting the operating centre the following day, it was confirmed that the individual was Mr Phillips.
Making the revocation and disqualification orders, the TC said that Mr Haines had admitted he had simply allowed his licence to be used for Mr Phillips to continue operating vehicles under the style of Eastville Coaches. He might have thought he was doing a friend a favour after being assured by Mr Phillips that the licence would be run legally. It was apparent that Mr Haines played no part in managing the transport operation whatsoever. In lending his licence discs and his licence authority to a revoked operator, Mr Haines had put the lives of children and others at risk.
Finally, the TC said that he was proposing to disqualify Eastville Coaches and Mr Phillips from holding or obtaining a PSV O-Licence indefinitely. Either entity was at liberty to request a PI within the next 21 days should they wish to contest that proposal.