Public inquiry for Maidens haulier

A PUBLIC inquiry is to be held into a Maidens heavy goods vehicle operator by the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland.

The inquiry into John Marshall & Sons of Old Station Yard, Maidens, will take place on Wednesday, September 21 at 11:30am and will consider the existing Goods Vehicle operator, consideration of unauthorised use of vehicles and change of legal entity.

Traffic commissioners are independent regulators for heavy commercial vehicle road transport, local bus companies, and drivers who hold vocational licences – for example HGV or PCV licences.

The Traffic Commissioner for the Scottish Traffic Area will be holding a number of public inquiry hearings throughout September 2011.

Operators called to public inquiry have the opportunity to offer evidence and therefore issues to be considered may or may not result in action being taken against an operator’s licence or applications for licences being granted or refused.

Heavy goods vehicle operators and operators of public service vehicles and local bus routes must be licensed. The traffic commissioners’ role in this licensing process is essential to deliver safer roads, fair competition in road haulage and passenger transport, reliable and convenient public transport, and to help preserve the environment.

Traffic commissioners (TC’s) rely mainly on evidence provided mainly by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), the police and public and local authorities, as well as the operator to decide whether an applicant is fit to hold a licence.

The GB traffic commissioner system is regarded as a benchmark by authorities elsewhere in Europe and is strongly supported by the GB commercial vehicle industry for its consistency, fairness and effectiveness in raising operating standards and ensuring a level playing field.

Public inquiries are judicial proceedings and are called where concerns have been raised about the financial standing, professional competence and good repute of operator licence holders and where there appears to be a breach of any condition and/or undertaking previously applied to the licence. TCs can also consider environmental concerns expressed about the location of (or operations from) the licensed applicant’s operating base.

In addition, TCs can call a local bus operator to public inquiry to decide whether registered bus services are operating punctually and can impose substantial financial penalty when services fail to run according to their registered timetable.

If concerns are raised about an operator’s behaviour or actions - or evidence is submitted about convictions or other serious misconduct - TCs can call drivers of heavy goods, bus and coach vehicles to conduct hearings where they may revoke, suspend or refuse to restore the driver’s vocational driving entitlement.

Traffic commissioners have the power to revoke, suspend or curtail an operator’s licence to operate lorries and to impose a condition limiting the number of vehicles authorised on licences held by bus and coach operators if they are satisfied that the operator is failing to ensure that its vehicles are maintained in a fit and serviceable condition when being operated on public roads.

Traffic commissioners can also take such action if they are satisfied that an operator has failed to honour certain statements of intent or undertakings made when the operator applied for its operator’s licence (i.e. that vehicles would be kept fit and serviceable and that the laws relating to the driving and operation of vehicles used under the licence would be observed).

Action can also be taken against public service vehicle operators who fail to operate local bus services properly or in contravention of the registered particulars. Traffic commissioners have the power to cancel or restrict local bus services, or to impose a fine if services have not been operated, or operated improperly, to a significant extent.