Mini bus firms made ‘errors of judgement’

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TWO Chorley minibus operators have received formal warnings over their licences.

Club Oasis Minicoaches and Ace Travel were told by a transport chief they had made errors of judgment by not doing enough to run their minibus licences separately.

Deputy Traffic Commissioner Elizabeth Perrett made the finding after a public inquiry into the passenger transport activities of the two operators.

Owners Roy Ainscough and Shakail Ahmed both appeared before the Deputy Commissioner on January 15, following investigations by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).

Mr Ainscough runs Club Oasis Minicoaches, operating two vehicles from Standish Street.

Mr Ahmed’s Ace Travel is authorised to operate two vehicles from Pilling Lane.

An examiner from the enforcement body visited Mr Ainscough’s operation in August 2012 to inspect his vehicle maintenance standards.

The VOSA officer found the required daily defect checks on vehicles were not being recorded by drivers, as required.

He noted routine safety checks showed defects that drivers should have been picking up.

The examiner also reported that, during a school check, a driver operating one of Mr Ainscough’s vehicles said he was being paid by another operator – Shakail Ahmed.

The vehicle was also not displaying any legal lettering.

When questioned about this, Mr Ainscough admitted Mr Ahmed had been running his business on a day-to day-basis, because of his own illness.

Insurance records seen by the examiner revealed Mr Ahmed was listed as the insurer of Mr Ainscough’s vehicles.

The Deputy Commissioner heard the same officer conducted an inspection at Ace Travel.

There he found that Mr Ahmed’s drivers were also not recording their vehicle defect checks.

She concluded Club Oasis Minicoaches was controlled by Mr Ahmed and Mr Ainscough had “taken a back seat”.

Miss Perrett told Mr Ainscough that that he should carry out a root and branch review of his operation.

A formal warning was recorded against his licence.

The Deputy Commissioner found at the very least Mr Ahmed had shown an error of judgement in not ensuring the businesses were run separately.

She issued a formal warning against his licence after ruling it would not be proportionate to put him out of business.