Turner rebukes S Vectis
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• Southern Vectis has been slammed by South Eastern Traffic Commissioner Brigadier Michael Turner for running a "flying squad" of duplicate buses ahead of its rival Isle of Wight-based operator, Gange Taxis and Coaches.
Turner has slapped a condition on the Southern Vectis 0-licence stating: "No local service run under this licence shall comprise more than one vehicle, save where further vehicles are justified by passenger demand. The onus of proof of such demand will be upon the operator."
The ruling follows a two-day public inquiry last week when the Commissioner heard evidence that Southern Vectis services had not run when they should; had operated off-route and once a bus had operated without a signboard. Vectis admitted running duplicates not justified by passenger demand but argued that it was a standard commercial practice, like cutting fares.
Vectis denied interfering with Gange's services on the grounds that it had never physically interfered with them.
Brigadier Turner dismissed Vectis' defence and ruled that the use of duplicates in this way was intentional interference with Gange's services. His view was that, though the operation of a duplicate vehicle might be lawful, it had to be justified by passenger demand.
Provided that the whole of a registered route was operated by one bus, said Turner, an extra bus could enter and leave the route at any point providing it followed the registered route and ran as close as possible to the base bus.
If a service was delayed or advanced by five minutes, that had to be reflected throughout the registration.
Not only the base bus but, also the duplicate must follow the revised timing, the Commissioner ruled.