Seven-year ban for County Connect and Directors

first_imgRevocation and seven-year disqualification come after numerous offences, including the use of a photocopied vehicle discThe international licence held by Sevenoaks-based County Connect has been revoked, and the company’s Directors Alexander Edwards and Jordan Cousins have been disqualified from holding or obtaining a PSV O-licence for seven years.The revocation and disqualification comes after the use of a fraudulent PSV O-Licence disc, using more vehicles than authorised, failures to operate local services, maintenance problems and breaches of the drivers’ hours and tachograph rules.  In addition Traffic Commissioner (TC) Sarah Bell disqualified Mr Edwards from acting as a Transport Manager (TM) for a similar period.Where an operator failed to produce records it was an aggravating feature because it deprived the enforcement agencies and TCs of finding the full extent of any wrongdoingThe company, of Wrotham, Sevenoaks, which held a two-vehicle licence, had been called before the TC at an Eastbourne Public Inquiry but failed to attend. A request to surrender the licence was refused by the TC.In her decision the TC said that Mr Cousins had been a Director of the company at all times, either formally or as a de-facto director when removed at Companies House to assist obtaining finance. The company had failed to keep authorised vehicles at the nominated operating centre when not in use, and had failed to notify material changes within 28 days, i.e. change of maintenance arrangements, operating centre and the re-appointment of Mr Cousins as a Director. Mr Cousins failed to produce his Driver CPC card at the roadside. The company had used more vehicles than authorised on the road at the same time, and had used a vehicle displaying a photocopied vehicle disc with intent to deceive. The company had failed to produce to DVSA all records required under numerous notices and the records, which were sent, were only received after the deadlines, and had also failed to comply with a number of undertakings on the licence in relation to the maintenance of vehicles and drivers’ hours and tachographs, including the offer of a cash incentive to breach the rules. The company failed to operate local registered services and failed to cancel local registered services.This was a bad case. Where an operator failed to produce records it was an aggravating feature because it deprived the enforcement agencies and TCs of finding the full extent of any wrongdoing. The explanations provided by the company in relation to the use of a photocopied vehicle disc and the use of three vehicles were neither compelling nor credible. The Directors each stated they ‘assumed’ the other had photocopied and displayed the vehicle disc.The company claimed to use two vehicles for nine local bus services, including school runs, Monday to Friday and a third vehicle on tour work most weekends through Kentish Tours, of which Mr Edwards and Mr Cousins were Directors. That explanation was incompatible, by way of example, with the third vehicle displaying an original disc on Monday 12 September. Further, Mr Edwards had to concede that when that vehicle was used on Friday 11 November, the company had three vehicles on the road.She noted that it was the company’s intention for Andrew Kelly to ‘run’ the coach side of the operation. Mr Kelly was variously described as General Manager and Operations Manager. The Traffic Examiner’s second meeting with the company was at Mr Kelly’s home.Mr Edwards, the nominated TM, claimed that he relied on Mr Kelly’s ‘expertise’ when the maintenance was taken in house. She did not accept that Mr Kelly left the company due to various ‘illegal ongoings’. The facts indicated an ongoing, close working relationship. As at the date of the hearing Mr Kelly and Mr Edwards remained directors of Kelly and Sons. She did not accept the suggestion that Mr Kelly ‘hired out’ or used a coach without the company’s knowledge.Melanie Hafner, a director of Jewel Tours, produced an invoice to the TE from Kelly and Sons for the hire of a County Connect vehicle on 8 November. She confirmed her company was the user of the vehicle on that occasion as its vehicle was off the road. She subsequently produced invoices from Kelly and Sons for sub contract work on weekdays.The company continued to pay Mr Steele’s invoices for driving that vehicle even on days when it alleged it had no knowledge of the journeys. There were some cases where it is only necessary to set out the conduct in question to make it apparent that a licence should be revoked and the operator put out of business. This was such a case.Few features diminished the gravity of behaviour of Mr Edwards and Mr Cousins, since the grant of the licence in 2015. The history of the company and its Directors was such that they must be removed from the system for a period to protect the public and the legitimate industry and for them to fully appreciate the consequences of their conduct.As TM, Mr Edwards failed to exercise continuous and effective management of the compliance systems and instead used part of that time to manipulate the system for commercial gain. In so doing, he had shown a reckless disregard for road safety, fair competition and the regulatory regime as a whole.Finally, the TC directed that if Mr Kelly sought to be involved in any application or entity, which held or obtained a licence in Great Britain, it must be referred to a TC.last_img read more

Campaign starts against false Europe illness claims

first_imgBonded Coach Holidays (BCH) has signed up to support Travel Weekly and ABTA’s campaign to fight back against false illness claims and other travel-related insurance claims.The claims are mainly on European holidays and often refer to alleged incidents of up to two-three years earlier, with the hope that there are no records.At a recent conference, tour operators and their associated hotels were warned to tighten up their record-keeping.They were told that claims are being driven by claims management companies whose ability to get substantial costs in UK personal injury cases has been limited. This has created a loophole in the law which means legal costs are not limited for personal injury claims overseas.The claims are so frequent that certain hotels in Spain and Italy are refusing to take all-inclusive UK holidaymakers. The claims are very likely to drive up the cost of travel insurance and holidays.Over 130 businesses, including major tour operators, have signed up to the campaign, which is lobbying the government.With 95 members, the BCH scheme is run by the Confederation of Passenger Transport.For more information contact John Miller at [email protected]last_img read more

‘Sensitivity and care’ needed on CT legal changes

first_img– The establishment of a distinct, hybrid category of transport-only community transport organisations, according to size, with proportionate licensing and driver training requirements – Proposals to maintain the availability of drivers across the community transport sector – Proportionate measures to collect and publish relevant data, including on the number of permits issued and the type of work undertaken using those permits, including under public sector contractThe report has been welcomed by the industry. Bill Freeman Chief Executive of Community Transport Association says: “Following its investigation into community transport the Transport Select Committee in its report has confirmed; that community transport is invaluable, safe, operating within commonly understood guidelines, and for many people, the only means of getting to where they need to be. “It is import that the Department for Transport now reflects on the Committee’s findings and considers the range of public policy solutions to ensure community transport can not only survive, but thrive.“The CTA will be in contact with the Department to again make the point that the upcoming consultation must not take a narrow legalist approach but encourage a discussion on the range of policy options available, including any changes to legislation.”The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) says: “CPT welcomes the Select Committee’s report which recognises that the legal and regulatory framework under which community transport services operate needs updating. “CPT has always maintained that large and well-resourced organisations that have been using the permit system to compete unfairly against licensed operators should play by the same rules as those licensed operators. “The Committee’s report acknowledges that where instances of unfairness occur, they should be addressed.  CPT looks forward to participating in the Department for Transport’s consultation, and is confident that the updated legislation will result in a system that is fairer for all operators.”Lianna Etkind, Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport says: “We welcome the Transport Committee’s recommendations on safeguarding the future of community transport. “Community Transport is vital for people across the country, especially in places where bus routes have been cut, or where there is simply not enough demand for a commercial bus service to run. “The Government, community transport providers and local authorities must now work together to ensure that the community transport sector can continue to connect people up to services, friends and family – otherwise even more people will be left alone in their homes, isolated from social contact.” Download the report here – The likely capacity implications for the DVSA and Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain of any new regime that requires significantly more applications for PSV operator licenses and professional driver training The Government “must protect the social value of community transport,” says the Transport Committee.It is calling on the Government to “demonstrate care and sensitivity” as it moves to consult on reforming the community transport permit system.In its report, Community transport and the Department for Transport’s proposed consultation, the Committee’s MPs “acknowledge that UK law and guidance have become out of step with some community transport practice and EU Regulations.”However, warns the Committee, the Department for Transport (DfT) “must fully assess the potential knock-on effects” of its proposed consultation on essential community-based local transport services to vulnerable people who would otherwise suffer isolation.“It is essential that the social value added by the UK’s diverse and unique community transport sector is not lost.”It says “concerns about licencing some community transport activities via the permit system have been emerging for many years.”Referring to the campaign by the Bus and Coach Association, which argues that in some regions current practices create unfairness in contestable markets such as home-to-school transport, the report says the DfT “acted too slowly and without sensitivity to the sector.”Committee Chair Lilian Greenwood MP says: “Community transport has changed considerably since legislation in 1985 and guidance has developed to fit widely accepted practice. In general, community transport organisations have acted in good faith and in line with guidance while delivering considerable social benefits.“The Department has been forced to act by the threat of imminent legal action, but its consultation should avoid a narrow, legalistic focus.“Where instances of unfairness occur, they should be addressed. But the Department needs to more fully understand the scale of the problem, and the wider implications of the solutions it proposes.“It must not use a sledgehammer to crack a nut. While the Department has a duty to settle the legal issues, protection of essential services that enhance the lives of many thousands of vulnerable people is imperative.“The Department should get on with the consultation as soon as practicable, but it should broaden the scope in line with our recommendations.”  The Committee recommends the Department for Transport launches its consultation as soon as practicable. The scope should include consideration of:– The interplay with commissioning bodies’ duties under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 – Proposals for a clearer division of responsibility for regulation, monitoring and enforcement of the permit and operator licensing systems between the DfT, DVSA and the Traffic Commissioners – A suitable, clearly communicated transition period before any widespread enforcement of any new regime, and a range of suitable government support for those required to transition to new operating modelslast_img read more

Kinchbus invests in cleaner link

first_imgKinchbus is introducing three new Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses to make its skylink fleet the cleanest it has ever been, with all 11 vehicles at Euro 6.The £525,000 additions mean the fleet on skylink Derby – linking Derby, Loughborough and Leicester to East Midlands Airport – will be all Citaro.Kinchbus cleaner skylink: (l-r) Kinchbus driving instructor Amy Newbold, general manager Alex Kerr and team leader Mark FoulstonThe buses havemore creature comforts than the vehicles leaving the fleet. There will be fee wi-fi and USB ports, plus AV next-stop announcements.Kinchbus GM Alex Kerr says: “Eight Mercedes-Benz Citaros were launched on the route in 2014, but due to demand we increased the frequency and had to use three buses that didn’t have the same green credentials.”The 24/7 route runs up to every 20 minutes and enables people to travel to thousands of existing and new jobs at and near the airport.“This investment is a sign of our commitment to cleaner buses giving existing customers a great journey experience and also tempting car drivers to make the cleaner switch. These new buses are the cleanest diesel money can buy.”The skylink fleet will achieve the Euro 6 threshold being established for buses in cities including Derby and Leicester as they move towards creating Clean Air Zones.Alex said: “Kinchbus is a locally owned independent company, meaning every decision we make is made by those with an interest in the well-being of the local community and the efficiency of the local transport system. We are doing what we can to improve the air we breathe in the communities we serve.”last_img read more

Service ‘running at a loss’ cut

first_imgThe Pickering Town Bus Service is to cease operating after Pickering-based operator, Hayesway Travel, decided it wasn’t commercially viable.The service is said to provide ‘a vital lifeline for regular users’, resulting in those regular users launching a petition calling on North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and Ryedale MP Kevin Hollinrake to step in and ensure the service is maintained.Douglas Hayes of Hayesway Travel says: “We don’t want to make the cuts, but unfortunately the route is not commercially viable and we have been running it at a loss.”last_img

Local benches promoting alternatives to abortion vandalized

first_img Pinterest Google+ Google+ Twitter Twitter Previous articleIndiana attorney general backing proposed opioid settlementNext articleSurvey finds 633K Michigan residents hard of hearing Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. WhatsApp (Photo supplied/St. Joseph County Right To Life) Four roadside benches promoting abortion pill reversal and abortion alternatives for women in crisis were vandalized with black paint.(Photo supplied/St. Joseph County Right To Life)St. Joseph County Right to Life made the discovery on Wednesday, Sep. 18.The vandalism comes just a few days after more than 22-hundred fetal remains were found in the Illinois home of the late Dr. Ulrich Klopfer, who used to perform abortions in South Bend.“In response to fetal remains found, we have been receiving messages all week from women who regret their abortion,” Right to Life Executive Director Jackie Appleman said. “These women express that they were pressured or in some cases forced to have an abortion. Others say they were completely alone in their decision and not given any support or other options. The messages on our benches provide these options, yet people are destroying them in an apparent effort to prevent women from knowing their options. There’s nothing pro-choice or pro-woman about these actions.”St. Joseph County Right to Life is working with the bench advertising company to file a police report regarding the incident. WhatsApp By Jon Zimney – September 18, 2019 1 466 Local benches promoting alternatives to abortion vandalized Facebook IndianaLocalNews Pinterest Facebooklast_img read more

Buttigieg unveils $1T infrastructure plan

first_img Twitter Google+ Previous articleHolcomb files petition signatures for reelection bidNext articleState Police, truckers join efforts again to fight human trafficking Tommie Lee IndianaLocalNationalNewsSouth Bend Market WhatsApp Facebook Buttigieg unveils $1T infrastructure plan Twitter Facebook Google+ By Tommie Lee – January 10, 2020 1 275 Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaigns stop, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm) Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg has unveiled a one trillion-dollar infrastructure plan.On Friday, the former South Bend Mayor pledged to direct federal funds to state and local governments in order to revitalize transportation networks across the nation.He says under a Buttigieg administration, local governments would “finally have a partner in Washington.”His campaign says the plan would be paid for by reforming the capital gains tax, raising the estate tax, and repealing the 2017 GOP tax overhaul. They claim the plan would also create 6,000,000 jobs. Pinterest WhatsApp Pinterestlast_img read more

Indiana panel backs higher fines for underaged tobacco sales

first_img Facebook IndianaLocalNews WhatsApp Facebook Previous articleGov. Holcomb keeps padding huge campaign cash leadNext articleLawsuit against Indiana university given class action status Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications. Pinterest (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The push to toughen Indiana’s penalties on stores for selling tobacco products to underage customers is facing some questions over whether the proposed fines are too steep.Members of state Senate’s health committee voted 11-0 on Wednesday to endorse the bill that includes raising the minimum age for smoking and vaping from 18 to 21 to conform with the new federal law.The Senate proposal would triple possible retailer fines to between $600 and $3,000 based on the number of violations in a six-month period. Indiana panel backs higher fines for underaged tobacco sales Google+ WhatsApp Twitter Google+ Twitter By Associated Press – January 16, 2020 0 307 Pinterestlast_img read more

Culture targeted as potential job creator

first_imgThe Commission points to the creation of a number of small businesses through money made available to the UK under Objective 2 of the Structural Funds.The European Regional Development Fund has, it claims, contributed to the conservation of historic buildings, while the Leader programme has assisted interregional cultural cooperation in rural areas. EU aid for the development of the Temple Bar area of Dublin has also helped it to become one of the city’s most visited sites. A paper to be discussed by regional affairs ministers this weekend points to culture as a major asset and suggests ways in which EU funding could be better targeted to tap into potential growth opportunities.The Commission will call on member states to propose innovative and commercially-based measures going well beyond conventional assistance to culture, although it will warn these must be carefully evaluated to assess their potential to create jobs in a cost-effective way.It suggests extending assistance to culture into EU urban and rural policies and adding an extra cultural dimension to the tourism industry, particularly in an era of increasing leisure time and with the service industries accounting for a growing proportion of European jobs.last_img read more

Military initiative seeks to boost Franco-German ties

first_imgAt an informal working dinner in Bonn last week, Chirac and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl decided to step up bilateral military planning and launch a convergence process between France and Germany’s military structures.The two leaders agreed to aim for substantial progress on this issue as early as the next Franco-German summit, to be held on 5 June in Dijon.The initiative was announced after weeks of grumbling in Bonn over the lack of consultation prior to Chirac’s announcement that France was to engage upon a major overhaul of its defence, which included the scrapping of compulsory military service and making deep cuts in its armament programmes. But Chirac has convinced observers in Germany and France of his determination to make cooperation with Bonn the pivot of France’s foreign and European policy. Chirac’s decision took German defence circles largely by surprise and angered both the government and industry. German Defence Minister Volker Rühe showed his irritation over the lack of warning about the decision to scrap the draft, which triggered a debate in Germany for which Bonn was not prepared.Germany’s hard-pressed defence industry voiced fears that a reduction in French military spending would endanger a number of cooperation programmes and threaten their profitability.During their talks, Chirac and Kohl also discussed the Intergovernmental Conference, the EU summit on 21 June, and the G7 meeting in Lyon in July.The two leaders also agreed to work towards a resolution of the Franco-German dispute over the liberalisation of Europe’s electricity market which is holding up agreement on the issue. Bonn wants to introduce a large measure of competition, while Paris is keen to preserve the position of its state-run monopoly Electricité de France (EDF).In another show of their determination to avoid future irritations due to miscommunication, Kohl and Chirac agreed to meet roughly every six weeks, including meetings at multilateral summits.The run-up to and the outcome of the Bonn meeting are characteristic of the way in which Franco-German ties have evolved since Chirac’s election to the presidency a year ago. The French president’s taste for spontaneous action and decision-making without prior consultation, politically justified as part of the Gaullist presidential tradition, often irritates his German partners.last_img read more