Three operators belonging to the Garratt family in Derbyshire and Leicestershire called to Public Inquiry over vehicle maintenance issues and material change have to wait to see what action is to be taken against their licences, if any.
Viking Coaches, of Unit 2, Ryder Close, Swadlincote, with a 21-vehicle international licence; Bryan Arthur Garratt & Partners, trading as Bryan A Garratt Abbey Coaches, of 37 Sycamore Grove, Groby, Leicester, with an 18-vehicle international licence; and Coach & Bus Services Ltd Leicester, of Dixon Drive, Leicester Road, Melton Mowbray, with a 12-vehicle national licence, had been called before Traffic Commisisoner (TC) Simon Evans. The partnership had applied to surrender its licence.
Director of the two limited companies Paul Garratt said two of four vehicles given prohibitions were off the road awaiting repair but unfortunately did not have VOR notices in the windscreen. He could not say why VOR notices had not been placed in the windscreens – it was just an error. The other two vehicles came in from school runs. The first vehicle had a seat that had been damaged that morning. A worn bush was not replaced, and the prohibition was lifted. The driver of the second vehicle had caught a tyre on the kerb on his way in.
Paul Garratt said that a lot of prohibitions were due to drivers not reporting defects. They now did gate checks on vehicles leaving to make sure the drivers’ walk-round checks had been done properly.
After the TC commented that it sounded if they had a poor set of drivers, which was not his experience generally, Paul Garrat said that there was always a minority in all companies. He felt that they had sometimes been let down by their staff.
Director and Transport Manager (TM) Adam Garratt admitted that a promise made, that an external consultant would carry out inspections of the vehicles after they had had their preventative maintenance inspections, did not happen. Similarly, quarterly checks of 10% of vehicle records were now six-monthly. He said that was assisted in his TM’s role for both Viking and Coach & Bus by his sister, who would be taking her CPC examination.
The TC said that a Vehicle Examiner had reported that he was told that Coach & Bus was moving from Thurmaston to a site at Melton Mowbray, which was not on the licence.
Paul Garratt said that both sites had been on the partnership licence and when his father Bryan retired he had assumed that they were both on the Coach & Bus licence.
Admin Manager Diane Saunders said that she had applied by post to add Melton Mowbray in March. After hearing nothing she contacted Leeds who told her that such applications now had to be made online. She applied online on 1 May, admitting that was after the company had moved.
Financial evidence was heard in private and the TC is to announce his decision in writing at a future date.