South East Wales

Bus operator Clayton Jones loses services licence

Clayton Jones
Image caption Clayton Jones runs bus services in the south Wales Valleys and Cardiff

The traffic commissioner has issued a damning report on the activities of a south Wales bus operator.

Nick Jones has withdrawn Clayton Jones' licence to run services in the valleys and Cardiff from next month, saying he had "lost his repute".

Mr Jones, of Heart of Wales and St Davids Travel, must also pay just under £10,000 to the assembly government.

He is appealing the decision and said the criticism was "not justified" .

The traffic commissioner found that Heart of Wales Bus, which runs as St Davids Travel, no longer satisfied a requirement under the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 to be of good repute.

His report said Clayton Jones's firm, which was allowed to operate 21 vehicles, had, without reasonable excuse, failed to operate one or more of its local services.

He also found timetable issues with 27% of services.

There was also an issue with his private hire licence.

The commissioner said he accepted Mr Jones did not deliberately fail to renew this licence but he said he found "he was grossly negligent, indeed he was inept".

He said he had "particular concern" that rather than thanking officials for pointing out the lapse in the licence "he made a number of unjustified personal attacks on named individuals".

The commissioner said Mr Jones has "continued to blame others rather than accept advice and learn from his mistakes".

The commissioner ordered the operator to pay £9,975 within 28 days to the Welsh Assembly Government, and revoked his licence with effect from 1 May 2011.

'No justification'

He said he judged each case on its merits but also took into account Mr Jones's "long and unhappy history" of appearances before regulatory authorities and appeal bodies.

Mr Jones said: "I'm amazed (at this) because there are no safety issues involved.

"I have been in the industry for over 30 years and in Wales there's never been a decision like this.

"In safety terms I would understand but for the nitpicking reasons given by the transport commissioner, there's certainly no justification and that's why we have to go for a stay and then subsequently an appeal."

A Rhondda Cynon Taf council spokesperson, said: "As a result of the findings of the report some bus services may be affected short-term, but the council would like to reassure service users that they are working with other transport providers to minimise any disruption."

Mr Jones founded Shamrock Travel hich ran for 30 years before being bought by Veolia in 2006.

In a statement on its Facebook page, St Davids Travel commented: "Revision of services, due to change of circumstances we will continue to update and anticipate major revision from the 1st of July".

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