Financial criteria ease
Driven by the pound strengthening against the Euro, the financial criteria to be demonstrated when applying for bus and coach operators’ licenses will reduce from 1 December 2014. The Office of the Traffic Commissioner has confirmed that standard national and international licence applicants will be required to demonstrate £7,000 (previously £7,400) for the first vehicle and £3,900 (previously £4,100) for each additional vehicle they request to be authorised. Operators making variation applications will need to demonstrate financial standing for their existing fleet and any additional authorisation against the new levels. The new criteria applies to existing bus and coach operators and new applicants. Any applicant or licence holder appearing at public inquiry before a traffic commissioner after 1 January 2015, where additional evidence of financial standing is requested, will be required to satisfy the new levels.
There is no change to the rates in support of a restricted licence application: £3,100 for the first vehicle and £1,700 for each additional authorised vehicle. Guidance on these rates is available online (www.gov.uk/government/publications/senior-traffic-commissioners-statutory-guidance-and-statutory-directionsor). The guidance indicates that where a standard licence holder cannot demonstrate financial standing, Regulation (EC) 1071/2009 allows (but does not require) the traffic commissioner to provide a period of time to rectify the situation. The operator may be given a limited time to make written representations before the traffic commissioner decides whether to allow time for rectification and for what period by way of a notice served under the legislation.
The financial limits set by EU Regulation 1071/2009 are €9,000 for the first vehicle and €5,000 for each subsequent vehicle. For member states not participating in monetary union, the regulation requires the equivalent in their currencies to be revised every year, using the Euro exchange rate published in the Official Journal of the European Union on the first working day of October in the previous year.