Sandwell bus firm banned for use of unfair tactics

A bus company has been banned from running services in Walsall and will have its licence cut back after launching a war against rival travel companies.

Sandwell Travel Ltd buses blocked departure stands and ran in front of rival vehicles to take their passengers, the Traffic Commissioner heard, Nick Jones heard. Mr Jones outlined various restrictions for the bus company.

He told Sandwell Travel Ltd that it would be banned from running local services using Bradford Place in Walsall for three years – and also made an order to reduce its licence, following a public inquiry in Birmingham.

Both orders will come into force on February 1, when the firm’s licence will be cut from five to three vehicles. The decision means the firm must cancel all of its registered services, which currently use Bradford Place.

The inquiry heard the company failed to run scheduled services and blocked departure stands at Bradford Place, which prevented another bus firm – Liyell Ltd trading from Willenhall – from using them.

Sandwell Travel, based in Tipton, buses also ran in front rival vehicles to take their passengers, which prompted complaints.

Mr Jones said: “I find that the stand blocking and the dangerous behaviour continued from July 2011 until at least just before the public inquiry. I reflect that Sandwell Travel Ltd had been on notice that allegations against it would be looked at it,” he added.

During the hearing, Mr Jones also examined a traffic regulation condition on Bradford Place, which he had applied earlier in the year. This stipulated that buses were not allowed to stay at a stand for more than three minutes.

After reserving his decision at the conclusion of the public hearing, Mr Jones issued his directions in writing. The public inquiry was held on October 8.