Concern over brakes puts bus firm out of business

ABERDEENSHIRE bus firm Philips Coaches (Alford) was today put out of business indefinitely by Traffic Commissioner for Scotland Joan Aitken, who expressed “deep concern” about brake faults on its school bus fleet.
Joan Aitken: Says bus firm's owner can no longer be trusted. Picture: Julie BullJoan Aitken: Says bus firm's owner can no longer be trusted. Picture: Julie Bull
Joan Aitken: Says bus firm's owner can no longer be trusted. Picture: Julie Bull

Ms Aitken announced she could no longer trust company director Richard Philip and said she does not want him back operating buses.

She said both the UK Government’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and Aberdeenshire Council had found the five-vehicle firm had failed to meet vehicle and driver safety standards.

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The local authority terminated its 18 school bus contracts and one local service with the operator in January, following a series of incidents including brake defects and an unlicensed vehicle.

The DVSA banned three of the firm’s buses from the roads, one with brake defects.

Ms Aitken said: “Mr Philip and his company have fallen below the standards required of a public service vehicle operator.

“I can repose no trust in Mr Philip. It is proportionate and appropriate that I put this operator out of business and that I make a finding of loss of repute.

“He is not someone who can be trusted any longer with operating. I will make the disqualification an indefinite one.

“I was deeply concerned by the evidence brought to me by Aberdeenshire Council. The council and its public transport team work very hard to secure safe transportation for the children.

“It appears that Mr Philip simply cannot achieve the standards required and any undertakings and assurances cannot be trusted.”

Miss Aitken also warned Mr Philip and any associates not to attempt to get back into operator licensing through another business name or entity, as some other disqualified operators had done.

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The Philips Coaches website, which also refers to itself as Philip’s Coaches, describes the firm as “one of Aberdeenshire’s most prestigious taxi and coach hire company”.

It stated: “Over the years we have earned an enviable reputation and all of our vehicles are first class and driven by friendly and helpful, fully qualified drivers, so you can rest assured that you are in capable hands when you come to us.”