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Transport Manager Keeps Good Repute at Traffic Commissioner’s Public Inquiry

Transport Manager Keeps Good Repute at Traffic Commissioner’s Public Inquiry

Traffic Commissioner’s Public Inquiry Eastbourne January 2021

We were instructed by a Transport Manager called to a Public Inquiry by the Traffic Commissioner. The Transport Manager had been an external Transport Manager on an operators’ licence held by a single vehicle bus company. Despite being granted a licence, the business had not in fact started operating vehicles and at the outset did not own a PSV.

For over a year the Transport Manager waited to be told when the business would start operating a bus. Unfortunately, in the interim the Traffic Commissioner decided to call the business to a Public Inquiry hearing following financial standing concerns. The Transport Manager was represented at the hearing by Transport Solicitor Chris Powell. The Company Director did not attend.

Chris Powell was able to explain to the Traffic Commissioner the circumstances surrounding the Transport Manager’s connection to the licence. It was accepted that matters had been allowed to drift for too long and that the Commissioner’s office should have been notified at an earlier stage that the business was not in fact operating. Having heard submissions from Chris Powell as well as evidence from the Transport Manager, the Traffic Commissioner decided that the matter could we be dealt with by way of a formal warning only.

This case highlights the importance of external Transport Managers keeping in regular communication with the Commissioner’s Office. Problems arise when an external Transport Manager is nominated on a licence but has very little involvement in it.  Another issue that arose in this case was the contractual arrangements between the external Transport Manager and the Company. External Transport Managers should be employed by a Company in their own name and not engaged via a Company or Agency.

It can be very stressful being called as a transport manager to a Public Inquiry particularly when it is in relation to a company that you no longer work for. It is always wise to seek professional advice and consider legal representation at the hearing.

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