Falkirk bus boss handed fine for safety breaches

Thomas Cole of Cole's Coaches has been fined by the Scottish Traffic Commissioner over safety and maintenance breaches on his buses
Thomas Cole of Cole's Coaches has been fined by the Scottish Traffic Commissioner over safety and maintenance breaches on his buses

A bus operator who was banned for drink driving has been fined for a breach of safety on his vehicles and failing to run services properly.

Thomas Cole, who trades as Cole’s Coaches, has been fined £1500 by Scotland’s Traffic Commissioner for the operational failings.

Following a public inquiry, his operator’s licence was reduced from three vehicles to two until July and he was also banned from registering any new services until October.

The firm operates the C2 and X81A services.

On March 3, 2014, a defect in the front offside brake was found on one of the buses during a spot check and a prohibition notice was served on the vehicle.

On March 10, in an unannounced visit to Cole’s operating centre. Inspectors found no evidence of either drivers reporting defects regularly or of repairs being carried out when defects were reported.

Another prohibition notice was served on a bus in September 30 last year for a continuous oil leak.

Mr Cole withdrew the C2 service in November leaving him solely operating the X81A.

It was also found that on the two Cole’s bus routes, nine services out of 19 journeys during a monitoring period between March 3 and 17, failed to run.

In his report, Deputy Traffic Commissioner Richard Hamilton McFarlane said: “This is not a case which brings into question the credibility or reliability of any of the parties who participated in the public inquiry. I found Mr Cole to be straightforward, candid and accepting of the position he found himself in.

“His explanation was this unsatisfactory state of affairs had risen because he had ‘taken his eye off the ball’. He was grateful for the VOA/DVSA intervention. His eye is now ‘more on the ball’ than previously.”

The report also stated that after Mr Cole’s 22-month ban for drink driving inMarch 2013 he had successfully completed a ‘drink-drivers’ rehabilitation scheme and got his licence back on January 28.