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• A London Bus subsidiary has had its licence shortened on maintenance grounds following a joint sitting of the Metropolitan and South Eastern Traffic Commissioners in London.
London Country Bus (North West) licences for both areas will now expire in May instead of at the end of September.
Evidence was given that LCB (North West) had a high rate of annual test failure. The inspection of 51 vehicles at the Garston, Hemel Hempstead, Amersham and Slough depots led to 31 prohibition notices, including 24 immediate.
For LCB (North West), Geoffrey Jones said that only
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two of the prohibitions indicated neglect on the part of the company. Seven of the prohibited buses had been off the road being prepared for annual test: many of the defects were the sort that could occur between inspections.
The company offered no excuses for its maintenance record, but cited a troubled history including under-investment in maintenance and vehicle replacement, and low staff morale.
Since 1988, 2143,000 has been invested in maintenance, and a further 229,000 is to be spent this year. In 1987 no money was spent on replacement vehicles, but in 1988 some 2840,000 was spent on new buses; last year that rose to £958,000, and this year the company plans £3.45m.
Metropolitan Traffic Commissioner Air-Vice Marshal Ronald Ashford said that unless something was done about the number of poorly maintained vehicles in his area, the company's right to a licence would be in jeopardy.