We were approached by a small business owner to represent them at the a public inquiry which had been called to consider their application for a new passenger vehicle operator’s licence.
The person applying for the licence had a long background of work in the transport industry as a driver but had never before operated his own transport business. One of the key issues was that the nominated transport manager was also nominated some other licences and the Traffic Commissioner was concerned whether this meant that the transport manager would be able to properly carry out their duties on so many licences at once.
Another key issue was that there was a suspicion that the applicant was already operating passenger vehicles. This was because of a web page which the Traffic Commissioner's staff had found on line which suggested that the applicant was offering transport services without being licensed.
As well as these issues, the applicant needed to prove to the Traffic Commissioner’s satisfaction that appropriate measures were in place for financial standing, proper maintenance of vehicles, observance of the drivers’ hours rules and compliance with the law generally.
We advised the applicant thoroughly about the issues under consideration and obtained information from them. Both the transport manager and the applicant provided detailed statement about the relevant matters and also how the operation would be run compliantly and with vehicles properly maintained if the licence was granted. The applicant’s explanation for the website was that this was merely to test the market and where any work did come through from the website it was referred to sub-contractors.
In advance of the Public Inquiry we put together a written submission and a small bundle of evidence that we wanted the Traffic Commissioner to read and review prior to the public inquiry hearing. The submission gave a full explanation, backed up by the evidence, as to what had happened and how the licence would be run compliantly if it were granted.
On the day of the Public Inquiry we attended with the applicant and the transport manager. We were prepared and ready for a full hearing. But, as it happened, the Traffic Commissioner had taken on board the evidence and submissions that we had sent in advance. The Traffic Commissioner had a few questions, although beyond that was already more or less satisfied that the licence could be granted. The Traffic Commissioner granted the licence as applied for.
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