A coach operator who provided vehicles for a controversial Huddersfield tour firm has been stripped of his licence.
Steven Ives, trading as Abbeyways Coaches, of Halifax, was banned indefinitely after a public inquiry.
North Eastern traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney ruled that Mr Ives had “lost his repute and professional competence” and was also unfit to work as a transport manager.
Abbeyways Coaches, based at Atlas Mills in Sedburgh Road, Halifax, was linked to Abbeyways Tours Ltd run from offices at Upperhead Row, near Huddersfield Bus Station.
It is understood the tour firm, run by David Davies, hired coaches from Mr Ives.
The Examiner has reported several times how customers have been let down by Abbeyways with tours cancelled at the last minute, forcing them to chase for refunds.
Some trips have also been ruined when coaches failed to turn up or vehicles broke down.
Mr Ives had been the subject of a public inquiry three times before and had also been sanctioned. After further complaints another inquiry was called in 2013.
That inquiry finally went ahead on March 12 this year and a written decision notice has just been published.
Mr Ives did not attend and was dealt with in his absence.
The notice says that 17 roadworthiness prohibitions had been issued against Abbeyways vehicles in the last five years.
The registered operating centre in Halifax appeared to have been disused for “some considerable time” and rubble blocked the entrance.
In October 2012 investigators attended Black Dyke Mills in Queensbury, near Bradford, where Abbeyways vehicles were found being operated by David Davies.
One of the investigators tried to ring Mr Ives but got a Mr Jackson, who said he was Mr Ives’ accountant.
He said he had drawn up a contract between Mr Ives and Mr Davies “but would not divulge details.”
Investigators visited Black Dyke Mills again in November and met Mr Davies when he explained the business had two parts, a bookings agency and a vehicle operation.
The notice says: “The part played by Mr Ives was described as akin to a vehicle hire operation.
“Mr Davies paid the drivers and had legal access to the operating centre.
“He was advised to apply for an operator’s licence in his own name.”
Mr Ives later disputed what Mr Davies claimed but Mr Ives refused to attend a public inquiry to resolve matters.
Having heard the evidence, traffic commissioner Mr Rooney said: “On the balance of probabilities” he was prepared to accept Mr Davies’ version of events.
Mr Rooney added: “Recent tribunal decisions have suggested it is inappropriate for a traffic commissioner to disqualify a person for a specific period without that person having had the opportunity to state his case.
“In this instance Mr Ives has had that opportunity. However my concern is that he enter the industry again in another guise and I wish to prevent that in a proportionate way.”
Mr Davies told the Examiner he had been buying the business in instalments from Mr Ives. He claimed Mr Ives now owed him £130,000 but had disappeared.
Mr Davies said he was hiring coaches from another firm and had applied for his own operator’s licence.
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