12 month disqualification for Tenby limo operator

A Tenby limousine operator has been disqualified from running vehicles for 12 months after the Traffic Commissioner for Wales found he had not run a safe and compliant business. Stephen Williams, who operated from Heywood Lane in Tenby, also lost his operator’s licence following a public inquiry at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court last month. The decision means that Mr Williams, who did not attend the hearing, can no longer operate public service vehicles or apply for a licence to run them. During the inquiry, Welsh Traffic Commissioner Nick Jones heard how government inspectors had prohibited defective vehicles, one of which was safety critical. Some vehicles were not given routine safety inspections on time and there was no evidence of drivers carrying out daily defect checks before using vehicles. Mr Williams had failed to download and carry out checks of the work his drivers were doing – to see if they were taking the necessary rests and not driving beyond their hours. Examiners from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) were also concerned about connections between Mr Williams and Daniel Rosemeyer, a limousine broker from the South Wales area who had appeared before the Traffic Commissioner previously. Mr Rosemeyer was the first individual to have a limousine impounded when the powers were introduced and also had his licence to drive passenger carrying vehicles revoked by the Traffic Commissioner. Mr Williams admitted to examiners that he had set up a business, Yes Limos Ltd, with Daniel Rosemeyer but said they had abandoned their plans to trade. Mr Williams also noted that he had sold his limousines and intended to run minibuses. In a written decision issued after the hearing, the Traffic Commissioner said concerns about the lack of control Mr Williams had over his operation – exacerbated by the involvement of Daniel Rosemeyer – was justified. He added: “I remind myself that the operator has ceded control to a broker and has not run a safe compliant business, his actions speak louder than words and I do not trust him to be compliant. The business deserves to close.” Mr Jones also remarked on the impact this type of operator has on the industry, noting that while there are good compliant PSV operators, unfortunately they suffer a significant competitive disadvantage when rivals fail to comply with the...

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Illegal Stretched limousine crushed by Merseyside Police

Merseyside Police has crushed a stretched limo as part of an on-going operation to ensure the safety of passengers being carried by limousines and public service vehicles. Since December 2014 Merseyside Police, working in partnership the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and Liverpool city council, have been engaged in running Operation Craton. The aim on the operation is to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured as a result of commercial vehicle collisions on the roads of Merseyside and to raise awareness regarding the dangers of failing to comply with the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, EU driver’s hours regulations and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and council by-law in respect of taxi regulations. As part of this operation a stretched limousine, which had been illegally modified with a third axle being fitted, was seized and was crushed on Friday, 9 January because it did not meet UK safety laws. The vehicle was also operating outside of the conditions of the insurance policy and driver’s licensing conditions. Companies running public service vehicles (PSVs) with eight seats or more must have an operator’s licence to show that they meet strict rules on safety procedures and financial standing. If a limousine company does not have an operator’s licence and is not registered for private hire with a local authority then there is a risk that the driver may not hold the correct licence, any insurance could be invalid and it might not be constructed or maintained to a safe standard. Chief Inspector John Hogan, head of Merseyside Police’s Matrix Serious and Organised Crime- Roads Policing Department, said: “The limousine and novelty vehicle industry has seen rapid growth in recent years and we want to see these legitimate businesses continue to thrive. “However, those operating vehicles outside of the law put the safety of their passengers and other road users at risk, and create unfair competition for legitimately-run businesses. “This is something that we aim to address through robust enforcement. The force working with partners from DVSA and Liverpool city council will make full use of their powers to stop the small minority of operators who threaten to bring the industry into disrepute and to put the safety of their passengers and other road users at risk. “The few businesses who insist on operating illegally and with little regard for passenger safety can expect to be prosecuted and lose their vehicles indefinitely or even, as in this case, for good.” The operation has already seen four illegal vehicles seized and over 44 fixed penalty notices issued to drivers operating outside of the law. Prohibition and...

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Limo driver disqualified for hiding illegal activities

A limousine driver who persistently lied to and manipulated enforcement officials has been disqualified from driving professionally by the West Midlands Traffic Commissioner. Ghazanfar Ali, of Acocks Green, appeared before the industry regulator, Nick Jones, after government investigators stopped him driving an unlicensed limousine. The disqualification means that Mr Ali can no longer carry passengers in a professional capacity. The Traffic Commissioner’s decision follows a conduct hearing into Mr Ali’s vocational driving licence, which concluded on 12 August. During the hearing, Mr Ali challenged a number of statements and much of the evidence put forward by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), who impounded the vehicle he was driving. The DVSA officer told the Traffic Commissioner that it was obvious Mr Ali had been driving on behalf of Prestige Limos, a company that had lost its licence to operate limousines in 2011. Mr Ali said he was a self employed driver and worked part time for Champagne Chauffeurs. He added that the vehicle was being operated by Champagne Chauffeurs. However, Mr Ali had also indicated that he was given the keys to the vehicle and the work on the day by someone from Prestige Limos. Mr Ali claimed that he had only been working for Champagne Chauffeurs for two months but a vehicle defect log obtained by the DVSA indicated that he had been driving the vehicle for more than a year. In a written decision issued after the hearing, Mr Jones said he accepted all of the evidence set out by the DVSA examiner but placed no weight on the evidence of Mr Ali. “Ghazanfar Ali knew he was driving for an illegal operator without an operator’s licence and set out to procrastinate and obfuscate in an endeavour to hide illegal activities.” The Traffic Commissioner also noted that evidence from the DVSA revealed Mr Ali did not use his tachograph properly to record his duties (a legal requirement). He added: “It is clear to me that Ghazanfar Ali has no place in any compliant passenger carrying vehicle regime as he is a dishonest, manipulative individual who has connived in an illegal operation. “Drivers who tell untruths to enforcement bodies including the DVSA cannot expect much sympathy from a traffic commissioner. “Whilst there are many good compliant limousine operators, the travelling public is bedevilled with unsafe and unscrupulous limousine operators. I reflect that Ghazanfar Ali has been a part of the very worst side of the limousine trade. “As the regulator of PSVs and as the person tasked with assessing fitness to hold a vocational licence, it is clear to me that Mr Ali has no place in...

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Party Bus company talks about recent Trademark uproar

The company at the centre of a controversial notice being distributed amongst the UK’s limousine industry, has been talking to TheChauffeur.com. More than 40 companies have received letters demanding they stop using the phrase ‘Party Bus’, amongst others. Party Bus Limited registered the name “party bus” phrase with the Intellectual Property Office in 2002 under Class 39 which related to ‘Transport Services’. Director of the company Denis McCourt is now claiming the new era of limousines branding themselves as “party buses” is having a damaging affect on his business. Mr McCourt told TheChauffeur.com; “We are having to educate people about our rights because we are suffering damage to our business through people using our name and not providing the level of service we offer. We receive countless complaints from people about poor service because they have been confused into thinking they were provided by us.” “For the past 20 years, the “Party Bus” business has supplied party and transport services throughout the UK. We now provide our Party Bus services in 13 cities including London, Edinburgh, and Manchester. When we started, we were a unique concept and, as a result, have built up substantial goodwill and a huge reputation in the “Party Bus” brand. That goodwill and reputation gives us the legal right to prevent other businesses from using “Party Bus” and confusingly similar names to provide competing services and it has enabled us to register “Party Bus” as a trade mark.” A limousine operator who also received a letter told us; “We feel “Party Bus” should never have been allowed to be registered as a trade mark, as it is too widely used in the industry, it is a description of a type of bus! So it’s not specific to Party Bus Ltd. It would be like us trying to register the words Pink Limousine, that would be ridiculous!” He added; “Other limousine companies who have party buses, are not passing their services off as Party Bus Ltd, they are merely offering the services they operate, there is no deceit in their advertising.” Operators who have received the letters are being urged to contact the National Limousine and Chauffeur Association if they need advice, or Party Bus Limited...

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What will the demise of VOSA mean to the UK limousine industry?
Nov28

What will the demise of VOSA mean to the UK limousine industry?

The word VOSA has always put the shivers up most limousine businesses in the UK – even those operating legally, but that name is soon to be a thing of the past as a brand-new agency is launched. A new agency with responsibility for maintaining driver and vehicle standards will replace the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) with responsibilities for setting, testing and enforcing driver and vehicle standards in Great Britain. There will be a gradual introduction of the new agency name ahead of the formal launch in April 2014, with ‘no change to the level or quality of services during the transition period’ – but what will this mean for the stretched limousine industry in the UK? VOSA and the National Limousine and Chauffeurs Association have been working together for many years in an attempt to find a solution to the many legal issues surrounding the use of limos on the roads of the UK – this work could be put in jeopardy as the new agencies join forces. It is currently unknown what will happen to the current relationship between the industry and VOSA, but it’s hoped it will mean more enforcement to crackdown on illegal operators, but at the same time help legal firms work to one hymn sheet and force out inaccuracies from a number of vehicle inspectors. Tell us what you think will happen next year when the new agency moves forward in 2014. Post your comments on our Facebook page...

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How the U.S is driving out illegal limousine operators
Aug20

How the U.S is driving out illegal limousine operators

Following a spate of unexplained limousine fires in the U.S, the media is pushing out warnings to passengers about the risks of hiring illegal vehicles. In May 2013, five women tragically died after they became trapped in a limousine which caught fire in California, and since then reports of any incident involving a limousine have been rife in the news. The Investigative Unit of a U.S media outlet recently uncovered several limo companies in the Bay Area, California, operating without a license and some under-reporting how many passengers they transport to avoid safety inspections for larger carriers. The California Public Utilities Commission regulates and licenses passenger carriers in the state. The agency requires carriers to have proof of insurance, file evidence of workers’ compensation insurance, participate in the CPUC drug and alcohol testing program, and pay a series of fees in order to have an active license. NBC Bay Area looked up local limo companies, then checked their license status on the CPUC website and found several companies with suspended licenses who are still actively advertising and seeking business. So ,the Investigative Unit went undercover to see if the unlicensed operators would entertain requests for service. See the video of the investigation...

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