‘Is Section 19 legal? No!’

We’re in possession of the full transcript of the Public Inquiry held on 1 June regarding Sean Campbell T/A Campbell’s Mini Bus Hire Ltd and Alan Alfred Borthwick of Tyneworth Community Transport.

Mr Rooney said there is a big misconception that non-commercial means not-for-profit, and that basically if there is potentially competition for work, and money changes hands, it’s commercial whether you make a profit or not.

The TC goes on to quote European law, the same law BCA made the complaint to the European Commission on.

“In the interests of fair competition (you need to think about that competition – if you were not doing the work, who else would be?), the common rules governing the exercise of the occupation Road Transport Operator should apply as widely as possible to all undertakings. However it is unnecessary to include within the scope of this regulation undertakings which only perform transport operations with a very small impact on the transport market.”

In chapter 1, article 1, paragraph 2: “This regulation shall apply to all undertakings established in the community which are engaged in the Road Transport Operator.”

Then, at 4(b), there is an exemption for: “Undertakings engaged in road passenger transport services exclusively for non-commercial purposes or which have a main occupation other than that of Road Passenger Transport Operator.”

There are two exemptions there: One is the restricted O-Licence, where it is not your primary occupation; the other is somebody involved exclusively in non-commercial work. It gives a definition of ‘the occupation of Road Passenger Transport Operator’ as:

“The activity of any undertaking operating a motor vehicle […] suitable for carrying more than nine persons, including the driver, and intended for that purpose, passenger services for the public or for specific categories of users, in return for payment by the person transported or by the transport organiser.”

Simply in return for payment. There is no mention here of whether that payment is enough to provide a profit or not. If money changes hands, it is commercial. You need an O-Licence.

What I struggle to understand is why examiners and people out there find that so difficult, because it is not difficult. It is really not difficult.

The Section 19 permit legislation is difficult. I will give you that. That was written in the UK. That is really complicated.

This is not difficult: If you are carrying passengers in return for payment, either from them directly or the person that has brought them together, then you need an O-Licence.

Martin Allen,

Bus & Coach Association