Six-day suspension for Kent Coach Travel

A Traffic Examiner found a lack of records and incidents of driving without a card

A failure to produce tachograph records for more than a month has led to the six-day suspension of the 27-vehicle O-Licence held by Kent Coach Travel, trading as Travel Masters, by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Sarah Bell.

The Sheerness-based company had been called before the TC at an Eastbourne Public Inquiry (PI).

A Traffic Examiner (TE) reported that the company failed for more than a month to respond to requests for tachograph records from DVSA.

When the TE visited its premises, he spoke with the Director and Transport Manager (TM) Timothy Lambkin, who agreed to provide records. Mr Lambkin eventually did provide records a few days later, but no digital data was received.

Another site visit took place on 1 May 2019 when the outcome of the visit was ‘mostly satisfactory’. The TE requested the digital data be submitted together with copies of spreadsheets logging driving licence checks, working time and enhanced DBS checks.

A link to the digital records was received but not the requested spreadsheets.

The TE was unable to determine the effectiveness of the drivers’ hours procedures.

His report highlighted 139 incidents of driving without a card between over a three month period. The company did not provide any evidence of who was driving the vehicles.

Due to the lack of records the TE was unable to determine whether the vehicles had been used for pre-planned rail replacement, regular service or private hire work.

In her decision, the TC took into account the failure to communicate with DVSA in a timely manner in 2019; the failure to produce all evidence required to DVSA in 2019 and 2020; the negligent lending of another licence holder’s O-Licences to the company; and the lack of transparent record keeping to demonstrate that the undertaking on the O-Licence regarding keeping to the drivers’ hours and tachograph rules and producing records was met.

She held that the Mr Lambkin’s repute as a TM repute was severely tarnished but not lost, requiring an undertaking from the company to appoint a second qualified TM within three months for both Kent Coach Travel and the associated Leigh-on-Sea-based P&R Coaches.