Route One said:Drivers’ hours and tachograph offences committed by nine current and former drivers employed by Heanor-based Dunn Motor Traction, trading as Your Bus, while on National Express work led to them losing their PSV driving entitlements for between one and four weeks.
The drivers appeared before Deputy Traffic Commissioner (DTC) Simon Evans at a Golborne Public Inquiry. Consideration of action against the PSV O-Licence held by the company, of Heanor Gate Industrial Estate, Heanor Gate Road, Heanor, has been adjourned until a date to be fixed.
Traffic Examiner (TE) Dietmar Buergel said that an investigation in June 2014 into the company’s operations concentrated on the EC regulated work. They processed raw data from tachographs and driver cards. They also had access to the National Express traffic log system.
They were clearly able to identify the driver in regard to a large number of offences.
Drivers were routinely removing their cards from the tachograph equipment while continuing to drive. They would get encrypted messages saying to make a manual entry showing they had taken a break.
Driver Wayne Woolley had four instances of false records and one of failing to make a record. He said that he had been following instructions and that he was told that if he did not do it, it would cost him his job.
When he telephoned the company saying that he was not going to make it within the hours’ limits when on National Express work, he was told: “you know what to do.” He had received no training whatsoever and had not realised the implications of removing his card.
He left the company about six months ago. He raised matters with the company but they just did not care. The DTC suspended his entitlement for four weeks.
Driver Paul Ridgeway had one instance of falsification. He said that he had passengers who had paid a lot of money to get to the airport and he had to get them there. He had never had any tachograph training.
He left the company in August as he was fed up with it. He would run out of hours at motorway service areas and the company would say they would send another driver out to take over, but they never did. The DTC suspended his entitlement for 14 days.
Former Driver Training Officer Ashley Entwistle had one instance of falsification and one of failing to make a record. He said that on one occasion he had forgotten to put his card in the tachograph when setting off.
He admitted removing his card when he ran out of hours after being diverted because of an accident. The only training he had undertaken with drivers was the National Express induction process. He had left the company at the end of May. The DTC suspended his entitlement for 14 days.
Driver Stephen Boston had three instances of falsification. He said that on one occasion the Operations Manager had told him that he could drive an empty vehicle back if within 50 miles’ radius of base without having his card in the tachograph. On another he had thought that driving the pool car for 45 minutes was classed as a break. Nothing was explained to him at the time. The DTC suspended his entitlement for three weeks.
Driver Ian Hutsby had four instances of falsification. He said that he had just been trying to get his passengers to their destination on time. He was not given any help by Your Bus or any help and assistance from National Express. He had had no tachograph training whatsoever.
He had not realised the seriousness or the consequences at the time. It was due to the pressure he had been put under by both companies and fear of losing his job. He was told on occasions that he had to do it because there was nobody else to do it. Three speeding offences were due to the pressure he had been under. The DTC suspended his entitlement for three weeks.
Driver Christopher Garlant had one instance of falsification. He said that he spoke to the traffic supervisor at the time who said it was not safe to stop and to continue with the journey. He was often put under pressure by Your Bus to get to the destination in time. If he did not do so his job was on the line.
It had been a nightmare. He left in May as it was getting worse and worse and that was probably why the company lost the National Express contract. He had worked for five companies on National Express work and Your Bus was the worst he had worked for. The DTC suspended his entitlement for seven days.
Driver Gavin Hallsworth had one instance of falsification. He said that he hadn’t a clue why his card wasn’t in the tachograph for 23 minutes. He could only think he was “buying time” on a positioning journey. He had never had any tachograph training. The DTC suspended his entitlement for seven days.
Driver Edward Wilson had three instances of falsification. He said that on one occasion he had forgotten to put the card in the tachograph. On the other occasions he was told it was OK to drive an empty coach without using his driver card. He had no training and was just thrown in at the deep end. He had to do it or get the sack. He left the company in August. The DTC suspended his entitlement for seven days.
Driver Eric Justice had three instances of falsification. He said that he hadn’t realised he had been driving without a card on one occasion.
On another he was a passenger and he had thought that counted as a rest period. The DTC suspended his entitlement for seven days.
Driver Ian Coope was given a formal warning after the DTC accepted his explanation that someone else took over the coach when he took his card out and the new driver did not put a card in the tachograph.
The case against Driver John Fordham was adjourned to await further evidence.
Sounds like some of the directors at Your Bus need to be suspended as well.