New regulations which will apply from December 2011, propose to regularise the relationship between an operator and his transport manager, meaning the it’s likely to see Traffic Commissioners get tough with Transport Managers.
There will need to be a contract between the operator and the transport manager setting out the tasks that the transport manager will perform. No longer will this be a vague obligation of “continuous and effective control”. The new regulations will set out in broad terms what it will cover, but this will be backed up by a list of core topics. Where a problem occurs and there is a public inquiry, it will be for the Traffic Commissioner to determine where the blame lies. However operators should not think that this is carte blanche to lay all the blame at the Transport Manager’s door.
Currently, Traffic Commissioners have no power to disqualify transport managers but can find at a public inquiry that the transport manager has lost his good repute, without which he can no longer satisfy the requirement to be a transport manager. The new proposals allow for a Traffic Commissioner to make a finding at a public inquiry that a transport manger is “unfit”. The Traffic Commissioner can say what the transport manager needs to do before “fitness” can be restored. The fact that the transport manager has been declared unfit will be put on a national register and the declaration will remain in place until the Traffic Commissioner determines that fitness has been restored. It will be more important than ever that transport managers attend the public inquiry with legal representation.