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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A catch up

After all this week’s news you deserve an update.

So firstly let me say thanks for the huge number of messages wishing me well which have come in by email, text, and all other forms of media from the UK and overseas. On Thursday evening it was the Annual First Dinner/Dance in Aberdeen and I was inevitably surrounded by over 250 of my colleagues and received many more good wishes. And in response to the most-asked question, the answer is “the end of April”.

I have made some tremendous friends during my time and I am taking this opportunity to make a shameless 'plug' for the book which tells the history of Wrightbus written by their former Sales Director Jack Kernohan. This is an outstanding book and available through all the usual outlets. It is A4 size and not as big as the one we are leaning on in this picture on the right!

Thank you for all of your suggestions for the naming of the Leeds hybrid fleet and which might be used beyond. There were some great suggestions and we will reveal the final name and livery scheme shortly. They will look great and I will be seeing what progress has been made early next week.

I hope you have ready page 3 of RouteONE magazine this week. If not you can see it here:

or follow the link over on the right.

It describes some goings on between the DfT, VOSA and the Traffic Commissioners. The independence of the TCs has been a critical part of the industry for 80 years but in recent times there appear to have been attempts to erode it. Not surprisingly the TCs themselves are increasingly protesting about this and before Christmas two of them actually went public deferring decisions before them pending clarity of their position.

The crux of the matter is of course that VOSA is generally the organisation giving evidence demonstrating operators' failings. The operator is equally able to defend those allegations using a lawyer if necessary. The TC weighs up the evidence and makes a decision. Some years ago the administrative staff supporting the TCs became VOSA employees and at the time it was a concern that, in effect, the prosecution was also the secretariat.

Now more recently there were further proposals making the TCs accountable in some areas to the VOSA Chief Executive who is, incidentally, already their accounting officer. This triggered the issue in December when two TCs went public. In this particular case it related to a decision in which VOSA had a financial interest so it should absolutely be the case that they cannot be involved in the decision-making process.

The RouteONE piece correctly sets out these concerns. We mustn't forget that the TCs look after all of the UK's freight and logistics licensing as well as passenger matters so it is for both industries to work to ensure that the independence of the Traffic Commissioners is maintained.


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