Digital proves its worth as O-Licence timescales fall

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Good progress is being made with the quicker processing of O-Licence applications and variations, the Traffic Commissioners’ (TCs) annual report reveals.

Scotland TC Joan Aitken has used the annual report to announce that she will retire in February 2019, in accordance with the law.

Key target

A key target for TCs, with the introduction of digital O-Licence applications/variations, was to reduce decision-making for compliant applications to seven weeks from April 2017, compared with 11 weeks for paper.

In 2017/18, 90.2% of digital applications were determined within seven weeks, compared with 89.8% (paper) within nine weeks in 2016/17.

Now the TCs have set a “highly ambitious” target of getting decisions down to four weeks by April 2019. 


The report for 2017/18 is published significantly earlier than has been the case in recent years and the TCs have moved to a corporate style, focusing on their strategic objectives.

Additionally, the TCs for England combined their reports into one narrative. This format will be adopted for future annual reports.

Services fall

The report reveals that the PCV industry has shrunk in Great Britain with 20,591 registered bus services (-3.5% on 2016/17), although there are 95,634 vehicle discs in issue (+1.8%), but 8,756 O-Licences (-1%).

PCV public inquiries increased from 148 to 181, with 86 O-Licences revoked.

Significantly, the number of PCV and LGV driver conduct cases rose by 35% to 21,222, with action taken against 9,764 drivers’ licences.

In total 3,290 drivers (+25%) were called to a hearing: 3,898 vocational licences were refused, revoked or suspended and 2,800 endorsable warning letters were sent.

Find out more, report at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/traffic-commissioners-annual-reports