Bus firm ‘making changes’

Blackpool Transport bus
Blackpool Transport bus
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Bus chiefs today pledged they are making improvements after Blackpool Transport had its knuckles rapped over maintenance standards.

The company, which is wholly owned by Blackpool Council, was given a formal warning by transport regulators who heard defects had been overlooked.

A hearing in Warrington was told on one occasion a 
vehicle which had been involved in a collision with a pedestrian later had a prohibition notice issued against it due to a defective brake.

But Deputy Traffic Commissioner Simon Evans added he was impressed by the evidence presented about procedures since put in place, including more robust checking and audit systems.

Following the inquiry, Blackpool Transport managing director Trevor Roberts said: “The company is pleased that the deputy traffic commissioner recognises the improvements that have been put in place over the last four years and that he didn’t need to take any regulatory action.

“The company understands what he expects and it believes the deputy traffic commissioner understands we are achieving it.”

Improvements made over the last few years include taking out old vehicles which were notorious for oil leaks and improving engineering procedures.

Passenger representatives said they were happy with the outcome.

Stephen Brookes, chairman of the Blackpool Transport User Group, said: “We are clear that we have never had any matters of concern raised either by the members of the group or by external correspondence.

“We will continue to work with Blackpool Transport in our joint efforts to improve the customer experience.”

The inquiry followed an investigation by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).

An examiner from the agency visited the company’s premises on Rigby Road in February this year and found, on some occasions, vehicle defects picked up by drivers had not been repaired before the vehicles were used again.

He also told the Traffic Commission that in the last five years, 19 of the company’s vehicles had been issued with prohibition notices.

Mr Evans heard the examiner had previously visited the company because an immediate prohibition notice had been issued to a vehicle with a defective brake.

The vehicle was previously involved in a collision with a pedestrian, which the Commissioner had been notified of at the time and took no further action.