Rossendale Transport Limited: Prosecution of Bus Drivers under the Conduct Regulations

The request was successful.

Dear Rossendale Transport 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

Dear Rossendale Transport 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

Philip Smith,

8 Attachments

Dear Mr Paulley

 

I am not prepared to reply to this request at the email address provided,
please do one of two things:

 

a) Provide another email address that is more clearly defined to either
you personally or a specific organisation.

b) Provide me with an address that I can respond to via Royal Mail.

 

Regards

 

Phil Smith

 

 

Philip Smith

Managing Director

 

   e:   [1][email address]

   t:    01706 390 520

   f:    01706 390 530

   m: 

 

[2]RossoSig60Rosso

[3]Facebook/Rossobus[4]Twitter/Rossobus[5]20-social-media-iconsKnowsley
Park Way

Haslingden

Rossendale

BB4 4RS

 

[6]rossobus.com       Rossendale Transport Limited - Company Registered in
England No. 2004970

  

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Dear Philip Smith,

Rossendale Transport Limited is 100% owned by Rossendale Borough Council, as your website clearly states.

It is therefore subject to the Freedom of Information Act, as shown by S3(1)(b) and S6 of the Freedom of Information Act.

As such, you don't get to decide by which means you will respond. You specifically cannot refuse to respond to a WhatDoTheyKnow request email address. The House of Commons tried that back in 2010, but were forced to correspond via WhatDoTheyKnow after the Information Commissioner issued a decision notice. Read the decision notice at https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

"The www.whatdotheyknow.com website works by the user setting up an account and making an FOI request from the website. The website then sends the request by email to the public authority. The website automatically generates an email address e.g [email address], which is unique to that request. When a public authority sends a response to that email address, the website automatically processes that response and publishes it to the website.

"The Commissioner considers that, for the purposes of section 8(1)(b), the email address that was generated from the website and used for sending the request constitutes ‘an address for correspondence’ and that by making his request from this address, the implication was that the House should provide its response to it.

"The Commissioner therefore finds that the House was obliged to respond to address specified."

The Commissioner therefore determined that the House of Commons had breached S1(b) of the Freedom of Information Act. Further, because the House of Commons didn't respond within 20 working days, he found that the House had breached S10(1) of the Act. He ordered the Commons

"to provide the complaint with a copy of the requested information to the @whatdotheyknow.com email address from which he made his request for information"

The House of Commons was obliged to do so, and so did so.

Now you're going down exactly the same road. You've already broken the law by failing to respond to my Freedom of Information Request within 20 working days. You are now compounding that by refusing to respond via a @whatdotheyknow.com email address.

In these times of austerity it seems a shame to have to trouble the Information Commissioner for a Decision Notice, but I will do so if necessary. It will say precisely the same as that Decision Notice to the House of Commons, which means you'll be forced to provide the information and that your time, my time and the Information Commissioner's Office's time and resources will have been needlessly wasted in the meantime.

Or you could choose to belatedly comply with your legal obligations and simply respond to my FOI request here and now.

It's your call.

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Philip Smith,

Dear Mr Paulley
Firstly, may I clarify that at no time was it our intention not to reply
to your request for information and a considered response will follow very
quickly. Our only concern was the apparent annonymity of the email
address. Given that you have now responded to me from it in a personal
vein I am now happy to corespond with you through it in the way you wish. 
I will respond to your questions by close of business on Friday 28 April
at the latest.
I trust that this will be acceptable.
Regards
Phil Smith
Get [1]Outlook for iOS

show quoted sections

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Philip Smith,

Dear Mr Paulley

Please can you confirm that you received my response to you're FOI request?

Regards

Phil Smith

show quoted sections

Dear Philip Smith,

I haven't! The last email I've had from you was yours of 24th April, stating that as I'd shown I am an individual pursuing the request you would process my request and respond by the 28th.

All the corresondece on the request is automatically put online at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r... .

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

Philip Smith,

Dear Mr Pauley

There appears to have been a technical issue with our email system, I will re-forward my response ASAP.

Regards

Phil Smith

show quoted sections

Philip Smith,

8 Attachments

Dear Rossendale Transport 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 opera
Dear Rossendale Transport 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? None

2) How many complaints have you had about drivers' failure to comply with
their criminal duty to operate the ramp in the past year? None

3) How do you ensure that drivers' crimes in this specific are punished
according to the law? Company Disciplinary procedures would be employed

4) How many times do you give warnings to a driver before prosecuting them
or instigating such prosecutions? We would use incremental disciplinary
awards: prosecution is a legal term not applicable in Company Disciplinary
Procedures.   

5) What impact does such prosecution have on a driver's career? Were a
driver to be "prosecuted" under criminal law, then their conduct would
have to be reported to the Traffic Commissioner who could apply a sanction
to their PCV driving licence entitlement.  

6) Please supply your procedure for identifying, reporting and prosecuting
drivers that have committed this crime. Passenger Complaints would be the
primary way of identifying this type of irregularity.

 

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? 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? In the event that an incident of this type was
reported, then Company Disciplinary procedures would be applied.  

11) How many times do you give warnings to a driver before prosecuting
them or instigating such prosecutions? Incremental disciplinary awards
would be applied. 

12) What impact does such prosecution have on a driver's career? It could
lead to dismissal. 

13) Please supply your procedure for identifying, reporting and
prosecuting drivers that have committed this crime. Receipt of passenger
complaints or a complaint from a member of the public and if necessary
"cross reference to "on board" CCTV systems. 

 

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? 2
traffic light offences,  three speeding offences.

15) What is the impact on drivers of such prosecutions? All were subjected
to Company Disciplinary procedures & their conduct was reported to the
Traffic Commissioner.   

 

Thankyou

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Doug Paulley

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[FOI #395226 email]

 

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requests to Rossendale Transport Limited? If so, please contact us using
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ting 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? None

2) How many complaints have you had about drivers' failure to comply with
their criminal duty to operate the ramp in the past year? None

3) How do you ensure that drivers' crimes in this specific are punished
according to the law? Company Disciplinary procedures would be employed

4) How many times do you give warnings to a driver before prosecuting them
or instigating such prosecutions? We would use incremental disciplinary
awards: prosecution is a legal term not applicable in Company Disciplinary
Procedures.   

5) What impact does such prosecution have on a driver's career? Were a
driver to be "prosecuted" under criminal law, then their conduct would
have to be reported to the Traffic Commissioner who could apply a sanction
to their PCV driving licence entitlement.  

6) Please supply your procedure for identifying, reporting and prosecuting
drivers that have committed this crime. Receipt of Passenger Complaints
would be the primary way of identifying this type of irregularity.

 

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? 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? In the event that an incident of this type was
reported, then Company Disciplinary procedures would be applied.  

11) How many times do you give warnings to a driver before prosecuting
them or instigating such prosecutions? Incremental disciplinary awards
would be applied. 

12) What impact does such prosecution have on a driver's career? It could
lead to dismissal. 

13) Please supply your procedure for identifying, reporting and
prosecuting drivers that have committed this crime. Receipt of passenger
complaints or a complaint from a member of the public and if necessary
"cross reference to "on board" CCTV systems. 

 

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? 2
traffic light offences,  three speeding offences.

15) What is the impact on drivers of such prosecutions? All were subjected
to Company Disciplinary procedures & their conduct was reported to the
Traffic Commissioner.  

 

Thankyou

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Doug Paulley

 

show quoted sections

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