Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Firs Bus Manchester Hit With Massive Fine

After its mauling by traffic commissioner Beverley Bell last month, First Bus in Manchester has now been hit with a £285,000 fine because of its poor time-keeping.

I've previously blogged with the news that First Manchester was summoned to appear before the commissioner in February after an investigation by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) last year into the company's time-keeping.

It transpired that VOSA's inspectors had been monitoring more than 860 bus journeys in Eccles, Swinton, Worsley, Royton, Trafford and Stalybridge in January and February 2011, and they discovered that some 26 per cent of those buses turned up either late or early.

Bus operators are required to ensure that 95 per cent of their services are no more than one minute early or five minutes late. Under section 155 of the Transport Act 2000 a traffic commissioner is allowed to impose a fine of up to £550 per vehicle on firms that fail to hit that 95 per cent target.

Now, the region’s traffic commissioner has hit the firm with a fine of more than a quarter of a million pounds Beverley Bell after the company was a revealed to have one in five of its buses not running on time. Overall, the company's compliance rate across Greater Manchester was 82.5 per cent.

"The main reason I imposed the penalty was because the operator hadn't done enough to make sure these services ran on time," she said.

"This monitoring was over 12 months ago and yet, as at today's date, the operator was still trying to put measures in place and I didn't think that was enough done quickly enough."

The commissioner said that she could have fined First Bus up to £500,000 but had decided on £285,000 in view of the work it had already done to improve services.

She wanted First "to show over the next three to six months that it is operating properly - and if it isn't, it'll have to come back and see me again".

Clearly a lady not to be messed with....

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