South Wales entrepreneur Clayton Jones has ended his latest venture in the scheduled bus market, at around the time he was required to submit the results of an independent audit of his Street Buses operation.
Jones was granted a licence for eight vehicles last December despite concerns from his local authority, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, over the nature of Jones’ past bus operations (LTT 31 Jan).
Traffic commissioner Victoria Davies determined that all matters relating to previous operations would not be part of the evidence on which she would make her decision. She considered the steps he had taken to update his knowledge, and granted the licence with the condition that he would have an “independent systems compliance audit in nine months’ time”.
Jones registered 13 services in the Pontypridd area to commence in February. The Welsh Government made clear that they were unlikely to be eligible for any Covid-19 emergency bus support funding, the purpose of which was to maintain the reference network which existed in February 2020.
In mid-September, Jones made Street Buses employees redundant and withdrew all services. It appears that this was done without the required notice to the local authority and traffic commissioner.
Jones said the services had been “suspended” until the Welsh Government accepted that it should give his operation the same subsidy as other bus operators were receiving.
Jones had formally applied to be released from the requirement to have an audit carried out by the RHA, Logistics UK or other suitable independent body by 13 September and to submit the report within 14 days of receiving it. In his application, he said the licence hearing in December was “unsatisfactory” and “a farce” and that he believed the licence conditions were “extreme”.
In July, the Upper Tribunal of the Administrative Appeals Chamber ruled: “There is no merit in this appeal whatsoever. It is now for Mr Jones to comply with the undertaking he has given if he has not already done so.”
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