Blackpool Transport Services Limited: Prosecution of Bus Drivers under the Conduct Regulations

Doug Paulley made this Freedom of Information request to Blackpool Transport Services Limited

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The request was successful.

Dear Blackpool Transport Services Limited,

S24(2) of the Public Passengers Vehicle Act 1981 makes failure to comply with the Conduct Regulations a criminal offence "liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale" (£500) "and, in the case of an offence by a person acting as driver of a public service vehicle, the court by which he is convicted may, if it thinks fit, cause particulars of the conviction to be endorsed upon the counterpart of the licence granted to that person under Part III of the Road Traffic Act 1988 or, as the case may be, the counterpart (if any) of his Community licence".

The Conduct Regulations refer to, amongst others, The Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) (Amendment) Regulations 2002. These include the following requirements:

"Where a wheelchair user wishes to board or to alight from a Schedule 1 vehicle, a driver and a conductor shall first safely deploy (subject to regulation 15(1) (duties requiring the proper functioning of equipment)) any boarding lift, boarding ramp or portable ramp in its correct operating position.

"Where a wheelchair user wishes to board or to alight from a Schedule 1 vehicle and requests assistance to do so, a driver and a conductor shall provide assistance to him."

It is therefore a criminal offence for a bus driver to fail to operate a ramp when a wheelchair user indicates he or she wishes to get off the bus.

Buses with wheelchair spaces have special buttons that indicate that a wheelchair user requires the ramp to be fitted. These make an unignorable siren noise and light a special light on the driver's dashboard. This is a clear indication that "a wheelchair user wishes to board or to alight from a Schedule 1 vehicle" and so any driver failing to deploy the ramp is committing a crime punishable by a £500 fine and an endorsement on their license.

Yet such crimes are frequent. I am aware that one London resident wheelchair user alone has recently had this happen to him on over 70 separate occasions; many of which he has supplied video evidence for - e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU9I8mJB... . I have no reason to suppose that such incidents do not occur in your area. An occasional slip by a driver may be understandable (though I think that's debateable given the siren noise and the light!) but the frequency of this occurence makes it clear that this is a systematic failing.

I want to know please:

1) How many drivers in your area have been prosecuted for failing to operate the ramp in such situations in the past year?
2) How many complaints have you had about drivers' failure to comply with their criminal duty to operate the ramp in the past year?
3) How do you ensure that drivers' crimes in this specific are punished according to the law?
4) How many times do you give warnings to a driver before prosecuting them or instigating such prosecutions?
5) What impact does such prosecution have on a driver's career?
6) Please supply your procedure for identifying, reporting and prosecuting drivers that have committed this crime.

S11 of the same Conduct Regulations places the following criminal obligation on drivers.

"(2) If there is an unoccupied wheelchair space on the vehicle, a driver and a conductor shall allow a wheelchair user to board if—
"(a) the wheelchair is of a type or size that can be correctly and safely located in that wheelchair space, and
"(b) in so doing, neither the maximum seating nor standing capacity of the vehicle would be exceeded.
"(3) For the purpose of paragraph (2), a wheelchair space is occupied if—
"(a) there is a wheelchair user in that space; or
"(b) passengers or their effects are in that space and they or their effects cannot readily and reasonably vacate it by moving to another part of the vehicle."

I am aware of multiple occasions in which bus drivers have failed to comply with their criminal law duty to allow wheelchair users to board the bus, sometimes even failing to stop at the bus stop, when the wheelchair space is unoccupied or where the wheelchair space is occupied but the passengers and their effects could potentially readily and reasonably vacate it by moving to another part of the vehicle. This is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of £500 and an endorsement on the driver's license.

Please provide the following information in relation to this crime.

7) In the last year, how many drivers in your area have been prosecuted for failing to allow a wheelchair user to board even though the wheelchair space is physically empty?
8) In the last year, how many drivers in your area have been prosecuted for failing to allow a wheelchair user to board even though passengers and/or their effects in the wheelchair space could readily and easily move to another part of the bus?
9) In the last year, how many drivers in your area have been prosecuted for failing to allow a wheelchair user to board, without the driver investigating to determine whether passengers or their effects occupying the wheelchair space could reasily and easily vacate it by moving to another part of the vehicle?
10) How do you ensure that drivers' crimes in this area are punished according to the law?
11) How many times do you give warnings to a driver before prosecuting them or instigating such prosecutions?
12) What impact does such prosecution have on a driver's career?
13) Please supply your procedure for identifying, reporting and prosecuting drivers that have committed this crime.

As a comparator, please tell me:

14) How many bus drivers in your area have been prosecuted for other criminal offences committed whilst driving, for e.g. speeding, jumping the lights, stopping in boxed junctions and similar, in the past year?
15) What is the impact on drivers of such prosecutions?

Thankyou

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Enquiries, Blackpool Transport Services Limited



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Enquiries | | T: 01253 473001 | M:
[4][IMG]
Blackpool Transport Services LTD | Rigby Road | Blackpool | FY1 5DD
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Dear Blackpool Transport Services Limited,

You should have responded to my FOI request by now. Please indicate where you're up to with it.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

Bryan Lindop, Blackpool Transport Services Limited

Dear Mr Paulley,

Firstly, many thanks for your courteous and timely email. Please accept my sincerest apologies for the delay in the Company's response. Normally, all FOI requests are referred to me following their arrival and I either deal with them directly or allocate them onwards accordingly depending on the subject matter.

In this case, I regret that I did not receive your original email and have been unable to ascertain its route within the Company since its arrival, which puts me at a considerable disadvantage. Having not been able to locate the original request, I have downloaded it from the website, so I do now have it. I have therefore arranged for an internal meeting at the earliest opportunity so that all relevant parties can deal with it.

I'm sorry that this request is delayed for the reasons stated and trust that you will appreciate the predicament that I have unwittingly been placed in. You have my personal assurance that this matter has been prioritised and will be assessed and responded to as swiftly as practically possible.

Yours sincerely,

Bryan Lindop
on behalf of Blackpool Transport Services Ltd.

Bryan Lindop | Head of Heritage | T: 01253 4701253473116 | M:
Blackpool Transport Services LTD | Rigby Road | Blackpool | FY1 5DD
W: http://www.blackpooltransport.com
T: http://www.twitter.com/BPL_Transport
F: https://www.facebook.com/blackpooltransp...
I: https://www.instagram.com/blackpooltrans...

show quoted sections

Bryan Lindop, Blackpool Transport Services Limited

Dear Mr Paulley,

Further to our recent exchange of correspondence concerning your FOI
request, as promised, I prioritised your request and involved all relevant
departments to undertake the necessary document searches in order to
ascertain whether we held data to answer your questions. Our document
searches have subsequently enabled us to provide the information below.

I trust that this information is of assistance to you, but if I can help
further, please let me know.

Yours sincerely,

Bryan Lindop

on behalf of Blackpool Transport Services Ltd.  

1)      How many drivers in your area have been prosecuted for failing to
operate the ramp in such situations in the past year? None. N.B. We do not
hold information about our area, we can only search for information within
our company. This criteria also applies to questions 7, 8, 9 and 14.

2)      How many complaints have you had about drivers' failure to comply
with their criminal duty to operate the ramp in the past year? Three.
Following investigation however, 2 complaints were unfounded and the third
was beyond the drivers control due to a technical fault with the ramp.

3)      How do you ensure that drivers' crimes in this specific are
punished according to the law? We would report the matter to the Traffic
Commissioner.

4)      How many times do you give warnings to a driver before prosecuting
them or instigating such prosecutions? In all instances, if a driver has
broken the law, we have a duty to notify the Traffic Commissioner.

5)      What impact does such prosecution have on a driver's career? No
data available.

6)      Please supply your procedure for identifying, reporting and
prosecuting drivers that have committed this crime.

Complaint received;

Employee identified;

Investigation takes place, including CCTV download if applicable;

If complaint proven, disciplinary interview follows;

We are not a prosecuting agency so, if the driver has broken the law, the
Traffic Commissioner is notified.

7)      In the last year, how many drivers in your area have been
prosecuted for failing to allow a wheelchair user to board even though the
wheelchair space is physically empty? None.

8)      In the last year, how many drivers in your area have been
prosecuted for failing to allow a wheelchair user to board even though
passengers and/or their effects in the wheelchair space could readily and
easily move to another part of the bus? None.

9)      In the last year, how many drivers in your area have been
prosecuted for failing to allow a wheelchair user to board, without the
driver investigating to determine whether passengers or their effects
occupying the wheelchair space could readily and easily vacate it by
moving to another part of the vehicle? None.

10)  How do you ensure that drivers' crimes in this area are punished
according to the law? We would report the matter to the Traffic
Commissioner.

11)  How many times do you give warnings to a driver before prosecuting
them or instigating such prosecutions? In all instances, if a driver has
broken the law, we have a duty to notify the Traffic Commissioner.

12)  What impact does such prosecution have on a driver's career? No data
available.

13)  Please supply your procedure for identifying, reporting and
prosecuting drivers that have committed this crime. Please see the answer
to question 6 above.

14) How many bus drivers in your area have been prosecuted for other
criminal offences committed whilst driving, for e.g. speeding, jumping the
lights, stopping in boxed junctions and similar, in the past year? Seven.
All for speeding, none whilst driving a bus.
15) What is the impact on drivers of such prosecutions? No data available.

 

Dear Blackpool Transport Services Limited,

S24(2) of the Public Passengers Vehicle Act 1981 makes failure to comply
with the Conduct Regulations a criminal offence "liable on summary
conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale" (£500)
"and, in the case of an offence by a person acting as driver of a public
service vehicle, the court by which he is convicted may, if it thinks fit,
cause particulars of the conviction to be endorsed upon the counterpart of
the licence granted to that person under Part III of the Road Traffic Act
1988 or, as the case may be, the counterpart (if any) of his Community
licence".

The Conduct Regulations refer to, amongst others, The Public Service
Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers)
(Amendment) Regulations 2002. These include the following requirements:

"Where a wheelchair user wishes to board or to alight from a Schedule 1
vehicle, a driver and a conductor shall first safely deploy (subject to
regulation 15(1) (duties requiring the proper functioning of equipment))
any boarding lift, boarding ramp or portable ramp in its correct operating
position.

"Where a wheelchair user wishes to board or to alight from a Schedule 1
vehicle and requests assistance to do so, a driver and a conductor shall
provide assistance to him."

It is therefore a criminal offence for a bus driver to fail to operate a
ramp when a wheelchair user indicates he or she wishes to get off the bus.

Buses with wheelchair spaces have special buttons that indicate that a
wheelchair user requires the ramp to be fitted. These make an unignorable
siren noise and light a special light on the driver's dashboard. This is a
clear indication that "a wheelchair user wishes to board or to alight from
a Schedule 1 vehicle" and so any driver failing to deploy the ramp is
committing a crime punishable by a £500 fine and an endorsement on their
license.

Yet such crimes are frequent. I am aware that one London resident
wheelchair user alone has recently had this happen to him on over 70
separate occasions; many of which he has supplied video evidence for -
e.g. [1]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU9I8mJB... . I have no reason to
suppose that such incidents do not occur in your area. An occasional slip
by a driver may be understandable (though I think that's debateable given
the siren noise and the light!) but the frequency of this occurence makes
it clear that this is a systematic failing.

I want to know please:

1) How many drivers in your area have been prosecuted for failing to
operate the ramp in such situations in the past year?
2) How many complaints have you had about drivers' failure to comply with
their criminal duty to operate the ramp in the past year?
3) How do you ensure that drivers' crimes in this specific are punished
according to the law?
4) How many times do you give warnings to a driver before prosecuting them
or instigating such prosecutions?
5) What impact does such prosecution have on a driver's career?
6) Please supply your procedure for identifying, reporting and prosecuting
drivers that have committed this crime.

S11 of the same Conduct Regulations places the following criminal
obligation on drivers.

"(2) If there is an unoccupied wheelchair space on the vehicle, a driver
and a conductor shall allow a wheelchair user to board if—
"(a) the wheelchair is of a type or size that can be correctly and safely
located in that wheelchair space, and
"(b) in so doing, neither the maximum seating nor standing capacity of the
vehicle would be exceeded.
"(3) For the purpose of paragraph (2), a wheelchair space is occupied if—
"(a) there is a wheelchair user in that space; or
"(b) passengers or their effects are in that space and they or their
effects cannot readily and reasonably vacate it by moving to another part
of the vehicle."

I am aware of multiple occasions in which bus drivers have failed to
comply with their criminal law duty to allow wheelchair users to board the
bus, sometimes even failing to stop at the bus stop, when the wheelchair
space is unoccupied or where the wheelchair space is occupied but the
passengers and their effects could potentially readily and reasonably
vacate it by moving to another part of the vehicle. This is a criminal
offence punishable by a fine of £500 and an endorsement on the driver's
license.

Please provide the following information in relation to this crime.

7) In the last year, how many drivers in your area have been prosecuted
for failing to allow a wheelchair user to board even though the wheelchair
space is physically empty?
8) In the last year, how many drivers in your area have been prosecuted
for failing to allow a wheelchair user to board even though passengers
and/or their effects in the wheelchair space could readily and easily move
to another part of the bus?
9) In the last year, how many drivers in your area have been prosecuted
for failing to allow a wheelchair user to board, without the driver
investigating to determine whether passengers or their effects occupying
the wheelchair space could reasily and easily vacate it by moving to
another part of the vehicle?
10) How do you ensure that drivers' crimes in this area are punished
according to the law?
11) How many times do you give warnings to a driver before prosecuting
them or instigating such prosecutions?
12) What impact does such prosecution have on a driver's career?
13) Please supply your procedure for identifying, reporting and
prosecuting drivers that have committed this crime.

As a comparator, please tell me:

14) How many bus drivers in your area have been prosecuted for other
criminal offences committed whilst driving, for e.g. speeding, jumping the
lights, stopping in boxed junctions and similar, in the past year?
15) What is the impact on drivers of such prosecutions?

Thankyou

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

 

Bryan Lindop | Head of Heritage | T: 01253473116 | M:
[2][IMG]
Blackpool Transport Services LTD | Rigby Road | Blackpool | FY1 5DD
Registered in England No. 2003020
[3]Visit our website
[4]Follow us on Twitter
[5]Like us on Facebook
[6]Follow us on Instagram
This e-mail and attachments are confidential and intended solely for the
addressee. It may contain information of a sensitive nature and any
unauthorised review, use, disclosure, distribution or publication is
prohibited, and may be unlawful. If you have received this email in error
please delete it and any paper or electronic copies and notify the sender
immediately by e-mail. E-mail transmission cannot be guaranteed to be
secure or error-free as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost,
destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses, and as such the
sender does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the
contents of this message, which arise as a result of e-mail transmission.
If verification is required please request a hard-copy version. Any views
or opinions expressed in this email and all attachments are those of the
author and do not necessarily represent those of Blackpool Transport
Services Ltd. This email and any attachments have been scanned for known
viruses prior to dispatch.

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU9I8mJB
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SChXxob...
3. http://www.blackpooltransport.com/
4. http://www.twitter.com/BPL_Transport
5. https://www.facebook.com/blackpooltransp...
6. https://www.instagram.com/blackpooltrans...