South Lanarkshire childcare centre owner banned from transporting children in minibuses

Happy Days operates childcare centres in Uddingston and East Kilbride. Picture: Happy Days Out of School Care/Facebook
Happy Days operates childcare centres in Uddingston and East Kilbride. Picture: Happy Days Out of School Care/Facebook
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An Uddingston and East Kilbride childcare firm owner has been banned from transporting children by minibus after using one with no MoT or the necessary licence.

The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland said she "doubted the repute" of Gillian Geddes of Happy Days Out of School Care and whether she could be trusted to operate vehicles.

The company transported primary school children between schools and two childcare centres before and after classes.

Commissioner Joan Aitken refused Mrs Geddes a public service vehicle operator licence (PSV) after discovering she had operated vehicles unlawfully despite being told in 2016 she needed one.

She said: "She chose to take a chance and try to get away with not having a licence."

"Her behaviour imperils her repute and I was singularly unimpressed by her seeing herself as some sort of victim, pulled out.

"She is no victim other than the victim of her own decision to ignore the advice from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to get a licence.

"I have a doubt about her repute and whether she can be trusted with an operator licence."

“Given that her business is engaged in the transportation of children as part of its service to parents, it is to the public good and in the interests of public safety that examiners did select her vehicles and operation that day.

“Parents of children do not expect their children to be transported in a vehicle which has not had an MoT test and they expect proper licensng of business and drivers.

“This is another example of a business which to the customer will appear friendly and competent but which has been lacking in meeting road safety requirements.”

However, Miss Aitken said she could apply for a PSV licence in the name of the company instead.

Mrs Geddes told The Scotsman said: "Our belief was a PSV was not necessary as our vehicles were not used for hire or reward.

"Parents pay the same fees, whether their child is transported by a company vehicle or whether they walk.

"This is a grey area and one which is open to interpretation by many, including numerous businesses in the care sector.

"However this has proved not to be the case, as ruled by the Traffic Commissioner and we are happy to adhere to the ruling, and as such, ceased the use of our 17-seater buses and immediately leased smaller vehicles which did not require a PSV licence.

"As regards to the outdated MoT, this was an administrative error which has been dealt with internally."