Coach taken to public enquiry

One of Jan's Coaches

One of Jan's Coaches - Credit: Archant

A COACH company that carries out school runs has been fined after a driver was found working without a valid licence and one of their vehicles had a worn tyre.

Jan’s Coaches at Soham were taken to a public enquiry after a standard roadside spot check highlighted the problems.

Watchdog body, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), carried out the check in June last year when they discovered the driver was taking an 80-seater coach of students to Bottisham College without the correct category licence.

His category for coach driving expired in 2011.

His licence was revoked in 2007 for not returning the correct paperwork to DVLA after moving house.

Four months after the roadside check, a vehicle examiner visited the Soham firm and reported that standards were not satisfactory as some vehicles had defects, including a tyre worn beyond the legal limit.

It is the first time the company has been subjected to a public enquiry since the family firm started trading in 1975.

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Owned by Ronald Edwards, Janet Edwards and Stuart Edwards, the Townsend business was given a financial penalty package during a public enquiry held in Cambridge last week.

East of England Traffic Commissioner, Richard Turfitt, restricted the firm to running six buses from their usual fleet of nine for a two week period.

Operator Stuart Edwards was fined £365 and given six points on his licence and driver David Badcock was fined £250 and given six points on his licence.

An East of England Traffic Commissioner spokesman said the coach company has made an undertaking, a legal promise, to make sure drivers made daily vehicle checks to ensure they were roadworthy.

Eight times a year the firm has pledged to carry out a full internal audit.

A spokesman for Jan’s Coaches said the licence issue arose by mistake after the driver moved house and did not notify the DVLA.

“He was profoundly sorry for what happened and robust measures are in place to prevent this sort of thing happening in the future.

“Having operated for many years we were sorry to be called to Public Inquiry because we take a huge pride in looking after our passengers and providing a good service. We have done everything possible to learn from the experience and we are stronger for it.”