In cutting the licence held by Oldham-based Nuseer Rafiq, trading as Traveline Minibus Services, from six vehicles to five, Traffic Commissioner (TC) Simon Evans has banned him from undertaking any work other than special needs schools contract work on behalf of Oldham Council for eight weeks.
Mr Rafiq had been called before the TC after one of his drivers failed to stop when requested to do by a DVSA stopping vehicle. Follow-up investigations revealed a number of drivers’ hours and vehicle maintenance problems.
Mr Rafiq said that the driver said that he had not stopped as he had not realised at the time that he had to. When he realised shortly afterwards, he did not think about turning round and going back. He believed the driver had made an honest mistake. He gave him a verbal and written warning and showed him a picture of a DVSA vehicle, explaining what it was.
When the Traffic Examiner (TE) visited in November he had not been checking the charts for the one vehicle with an analogue tachograph. He had had the software for tachograph analysis before 19 March but had not known how to use it. There should not be any infringements in respect of the work that they did. If a driver committed an infringement, he would explain that his job was at risk. He had done a CPC refresher course in April to get his head around things. He was getting a transport consultant on board to look at the whole operation.
He agreed that a number of inspection sheets were missing and he could not explain why the inspection periods had been stretched on a number of occasions.
He said that he was going to adopt the specimen inspection record in the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness as it was more thorough than the one currently used. He accepted he had not looked at the inspection sheets when they came back from the maintenance contractor. He was now going to look at them to see if there were any defects the drivers should have picked up.
The TC pointed out that on three sheets where a Zone A windscreen defect was reported, nothing was done about it, with the sheets saying the vehicle was serviceable when it clearly was not. One form was just a series of ticks with no signature and on one vehicle the garage stated that the mileage was unreadable.
Mr Rafiq said that he had relied too much upon the garage. He was now drawing a line and getting everything right.
The TC commented that the line should have been drawn in November. He was pleased that the light had finally dawned, but Mr Rafiq was a Transport Manager and he should have known these things.
The changes had been too slow. Only in the last month had a proper analysis of the drivers’ performance begun. The problems came when the drivers were engaged in private hire work. He was unimpressed with the efforts made to tackle the outdated practices of the maintenance contractor.