It is easy to start a "Limited Company". You simply buy one (fbb's cost £100). It will have a silly same (Solent Blue Line's was Musterphantom Limited) which you change; you choose wide ranging articles of association which say that you will be a Transport Operator but you might do almost anything else as well. Directors are appointed and have to pay cash for the company's shares. (fbb had two directors, putting £250 each into the pot for 500 shares of £1 each).
In the box, you get a company seal.
And you are in business. You must send an annual return and lodge annual accounts with Companies House. For a small company, you do not even need auditors.
To run buses you then need an operators licence which involves ensuring that the Directors are "of good repute" (have some cash, and have not been banned) and that you have a Transport Manager who is qualified. Back in fbb's day this Certificate of Personal Competence was not difficult to obtain although all the regulations have been tightened up subsequently. You need an operating base. Oh yes, and a bus or two.
These must be properly maintained and, effectively, be given an "MOT" test every four to six weeks (depending on mileage operated). Repeated test failures are a no-no and you risk being shut down. Your buses can also be inspected at any time whilst on the road and impounded without warning.
If you want to run a public service you need to register the route and timetable with the Traffic Commissioners.
Although the company's responsibilities to the outside world are "Limited", its officers are personally and financially liable for abiding by the rules.
A Blackpool bus operator is facing a seven year ban after a transport inspector ruled it did not comply with the terms of its licence. Oakwood Travel, now operating under the name Catch 22 Bus Ltd, has been involved in a long running series of hearings with the Traffic Commissioner over its licence. Alongside the appeal application, she was asked to consider a stay of her decisions regarding the company, its director Philip Higgs, and transport manager Frank Steele, pending the outcome of any appeal hearing. Its owner Philip Higgs was also linked to Classic Bus North West and Totally Transport as well as Red Rocket buses.
We know (from previous blogs) that Classic Bus North West went bust in December 2013 after closing down its route 80 and the contract with Lancashire without the requisite periods of notice.
Going bust due to "financial difficulties" suggests questions of management competence and might make the Commissioner consider that Mr Higgs "good repute" wasn't, But we haven't hearts of the Community Interest Company "Totally Transport". This was tied in with the Lancashire Transport Trust and, according to local sources, undertook vehicle refurbishment.
Not the best way forward!
Not an ideal response!
But a video had appeared on YouTube which purported to show Mrs Bell breaking the law as she drove her motor car via the M58 and M6.