The number of Public Service (bus and coach) Vehicle operator licences suspended at public inquiry by Traffic Commissioners more than doubled in 1995-96.
The Traffic Commissioners, whose annual reports are published today, report a seven per cent increase PSV cases called to disciplinary Public Inquiry. A total of 30 licences were suspended compared to 11 suspensions in the previous year.
The reports also show a small increase in the number of PSV operator licence holders - the number of licences increased by one per cent to a total of 7,489, continuing the trend of previous years.
Applications to vary licences increased by more than eight per cent although this is partly explained by the fact that, under the previous licensing system variations were considered as part of the renewal process, whereas now, operators have to apply separately to vary their licence.
There was a seven per cent reduction in applications to register, vary or cancel local bus service registrations, again continuing the trend of previous years and indicating increased stability in the provision of bus services.
The Traffic Commissioners considered 4,500 bus or coach driver conduct cases during 1995-96. In some six per cent of these cases, the commissioner refused, suspended or revoked the driver's entitlement to drive buses or coaches. Nearly 1,500 warning letters were also issued.
-- Traffic Commissioners are independent statutory authorities appointed by the secretary of state for each of the eight Traffic Areas in Great Britain. Their responsibilities include the licensing of operators of public service vehicles and the registration of local bus services. They also exercise a disciplinary function in respect of holders of entitlement to drive passenger carrying vehicles (buses and coaches).
-- Until this year, operators were required to renew their licences every five years. On 1 January 1996, indefinite or 'continuous' licences were introduced.
-- The annual reports of the Traffic Commissioners for 1995-96 are available from the department of transport, price £2. Cheques and Postal Orders should be made payable to the Department of Transport and accompany all orders.
-- The Annual Reports of the Traffic Commissioners (formerly Licensing Authorities) for operators of heavy goods vehicles are also published today.