TC cuts ASA Travel O-Licence by a third for 21 days

ASA Travel has had its O-Licence cut after poor MoT record and concerns over drivers’ hours

A failure to improve a poor annual test record has led to the 15-vehicle O-Licence held by Birmingham-based ASA Travel being cut to 10 vehicles for 21 days by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton.

The company had been called before the TC because of concerns over vehicle maintenance, drivers’ hours offences and the use of an unauthorised operating centre.

At the outset the TC said that he felt that there had been insufficient improvement since the company had had a meeting with the Traffic Area’s Senior Team Leader in January 2019. There was a very high MoT failure rate, a number of prohibitions and drivers’ hours offences.

Vehicle Examiner (VE) Gary Hollis said that during a maintenance investigation he had concerns about the use of an unauthorised operating centre and the very poor MoT failure rate which had deteriorated since a visit by another VE 12 months previously.

Asked about the use of the unauthorised operating centre, Director Arshad Hussain said the company had been asked to move by the landlord of its authorised centre in December 2018. The intention was that it should only be a temporary move. Unfortunately, he had an accident in January 2019. He was hospitalised and it took him six months to recover. The business was subsequently told that it was unable to return to the original centre. He accepted he had made a mistake in not seeking authority for the move sooner.

The TC commented that a letter from the landlord of the original site made it plain that it was never meant to be a temporary move. He noticed from photographs produced that the legal lettering on the vehicles was the address of the original site.

After Jim Marsh, for the company, had said that that was because the new operating centre had only just been granted, the TC pointed out that the legal lettering ought to be the company’s registered address rather than its operating centre.

He said that of the 14 annual tests since January 2019, there had been nine first time passes and four outright failures. There was quite an extensive list of failure items, yet the PMI records did not show many defects.

Mr Hussain said that he had done most of the pre-MoT work, but he had been off work for two months. He agreed that he had wrongly been counting the annual test as a PMI.

Mr Marsh said that the company was seeking to find a reliable maintenance provider. It was also seeking to find an operating centre where it could have its own workshop as its external Transport Manager (TM) Mohammed Farooq was a qualified mechanic. The drivers’ hours rest offences had occurred with two drivers who had done both school contracts and private hire work.

Mr Hussain said that it had been his mistake as he had scheduled them to work at the weekend when they should have been taking a full weekly rest.

Undertakings were given that Mr Hussain would attend a one-day PSV O-Licensing course, that Mr Farooq would attend a two-day TM’s refresher course and that a new maintenance provider would be in place by the end of March.

Curtailing the O-Licence, the TC said: “I’ve had a groundhog day as the issues pointed out by the Senior Team Leader are still present.” Vehicles were in poor condition carrying schoolchildren and that was still happening. Though Mr Hussain had personal health issues, there was a TM in place and things should have been tackled more dynamically.

Issuing the two drivers with a warning, the TC said that drivers had a responsibility as well as the operator to ensure they had the correct amount of rest.