Haulage, bus and coach operators who are unwilling or unable to comply with safety regulations will continue to be excluded from the industry, the North West regulator has warned in her annual report to the Secretary of State for Transport.
Beverley Bell, the Traffic Commissioner responsible for licensing businesses running haulage operations or carrying passengers in the North West, has used the report to outline her continued commitment to ensure that operator licensing regulation is proportionate and effective.
Reflecting on work carried out at public inquiries, Mrs Bell noted that revocation remained high. 30% of HGV operators lost their licences during the year, while a quarter of bus and coach operators were told they could no longer carry passengers.
She noted that other sanctions imposed on operators were also effective.
“Much of the value in our public inquiry work lies not just in revocation cases but in those cases where orders for curtailment and suspension are made,” she said.
Just over 11% of HGV operators and almost 14% of bus and coach operators were suspended, which prevented them from running their fleets for a specified period of time.
Close to a quarter of HGV firms were subject to a curtailment order – which reduced the number of vehicles they could put on the road at any one time. Mrs Bell also reflected on the positive aspects of the industries in the report.
and the examples of good practice she saw whilst engaging with them.
She noted that drivers and managers had explained the problems they faced trying to keep vehicles and employees safe.
“I also heard from them about how seriously they take their obligations working as professionals – and how they welcome guidance from their local commissioner.”
“Attending the North West Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport industry awards reminded me of the many examples of best practice, commitment, professionalism, drive and determination shown by entrants and brought a welcome balance to those whom I met at public inquiry last year,” she added.
The regulator also used the report to outline her concern over bus punctuality and reliability in the region.
“When interviewed for the post of Traffic Commissioner I was asked what passengers wanted from their bus service. The answer was not difficult – they want the buses (and their drivers) to be safe, punctual and reliable.
“I take this opportunity to remind operators who read my report that they must monitor their registered services and that they must proactively manage them,” she added.
“Far too many still are not and they can expect no sympathy from VOSA as the enforcement agency or me as the regulator.”
The Traffic Commissioner concluded her report by expressing gratitude to Greater Manchester Police for their continued liaison with her office to notify convictions sustained by those applying for, or involved in, the operation of commercial vehicles in the region.