Local bus company fined for running late services

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The Office of Traffic Commissioner (North East of England) has today (25 May 2017) held a Public Inquest into Harrogate Coach Travel Ltd, a company that operates the Connexion buses.

The inquest was called to look at the findings following monitoring the punctuality of services.

A 10-day survey, by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, had been undertaken between 14 November 2016 and 25 November 2016. They looked at the bus routes 8, 38, X52, X6, 940, X70 and 13.

In legislation a bus needs to be no earlier than 1 minute or no later than 5 minutes of the time in the timetable.

And 95% of services are required to be on-time to that definition.

Following the survey of 149 Connexions buses, 5 failed to arrive, 8 were more than 1-minute early and 34 were more than 5 minutes late – that gave a non-compliance rate of 30%

At the inquest the validity of the recorded data was challenged. They challenged if data was recorded for both arrival and departure at a stop it was reasonable to record a 1 minute early arrival, but a departure on time as a non-compliance. Connexions also said that the times recorded in the survey did not always correlate with their own data from the the GPS based ticket machines.

Connexions gave mitigation for the late arrivals down to the Christmas Market, unscheduled road works and road accidents.

Managing Director for Connexions, Jonathan Craig Temple spoke to the Inquest saying that they pride themselves on offering a reliable and friendly service, aiming to fill gaps in service. Mr Temple said that Christmas Market had created a lot of delays to them, but was challenged back that it was known that it was happening, as in other years.

Mr Temple also said that if another, non-seasonal period had been checked then there would not have been any problems with punctuality.


Traffic Commissioner, Miles Dorrington considered the matter for 45-minutes and concluded to the inquest:-

  • Sampling of bus times was sufficient and representative
  • The Christmas Market is a known factor every year, so should have been considered by Connexions
  • Even if the punctuality figures are adjusted, based on Connexions challenge, they still remain less then 95%
  • It is appropriate to apply a proportionate fine of £50 per vehicle or £1700 in total, payable within 42 days

The Traffic Commissioner commended Connexions for what they aim to achieve but reminded them that it is of little consequence to the public who just want services on time.

He said that the penalty could have been much higher, in the region of £20,000 and that this a mark on their file. No direction for a re-survey was given by the Traffic Commissioner, but he urged that the whole fleet is more actively monitored so that problems don’t happen again.


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10 thoughts on “Local bus company fined for running late services

  1. Hi i am disabled and i have a mobility scooter which is big enough to get on a bus.its been measured by transdev and there fine with it and i even have a permit to get on there buses.however connexions have a problem with it.they said not allowed on and drove off.did not get chance to pull permit out

  2. Fail to see how knowing about the Chritsmas market means you can run a schedule on time. Loks like someone is out to get them to me.

    1. The Transport Commissioner’s point was that if you know there will be delays, you can put out a revised schedule for that time. Connexion’s point was that in reality that’s not practical as it is difficult to communicate out short-term changes like that.

    2. I live in Ilkley and the x52 service is most reliable, and the drivers always pleasant. We are mainly dependant on First Leeds which are very unreliable, so keep up the good service connextions.

  3. A connexion bus drove past my stop where I and my daughter were waiting, near Harrogate hospital and when I rang to complain I was told the driver could have sneezed and missed the stop!! I was incredulous… They are invariably late or no bus turns up. I now bike everywhere.

  4. The X70 is better at being on time than the 770 or 771 run by Transdev. Perhaps they should be investigated too. Connexions drivers are much more customer friendly too !

  5. I smell the hand of another major operator in this case. The Traffic Commissioner really needs to act in an even handed way and investigate all local bus companies. Late running is common place with Arriva, First and Transdev. Bus bunching is also common with all three operators. The PTA in West Yorkshire seems to do very little about traffic conditions and all Leeds City Council can do is build cycle lanes at great expense. Even Leeds first Park & Ride is part time in the football season.

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