Chauffeurline boss disqualified after illegal licence swap
Graham Pender, owner of Edinburgh-based Chauffeurline (UK) Ltd, has been disqualified from operating passenger vehicles or acting as a transport manager for three years after it emerged he had been running the business without a licence.
A traffic commissioner’s enquiry heard that the business had been run illegally since November 2014 when Chauffeurline Coaches Ltd - previously known as Cramond Coaches Ltd - ceased trading as a result of an associated company going into liquidation.
Chauffeurline (UK) Ltd had continued operating vehicles since November 2014 under the licence held by Chauffeurline Coaches Ltd – although operator licences are not transferable between businesses, after Chauffeurline (UK)’s application was rejected.
Scottish traffic commissioner Joan Aitken, in a written ruling, said Pender had been running Chauffeurline (UK) Ltd without a licence, and this had “shattered the fundamental trust which is at the heart of operator licensing”.
Aitken said Pender was “no longer of repute and professional competence” as a result of his action and revoked his existing operator’s licence with immediate effect.
She said: “I do not doubt that [Pender] has the ambition, can embrace modern ways of working, that he likes making money and knows the sense in putting on a nice show in sense of smartly presented vehicles and drivers and slickness of operation. However, I am charged with enforcing a regulated environment and I struggle with his attitude and commitment to such."
Chaffeurline operated a fleet of 19 luxury vehicles, including six Jaguar XJLs and three 16-seater Mercedes minibuses (pictured). It handled crew transfers from several Scottish airports as well as hotel and cruise line contracts.
Graham Pender was previously declared bankrupt in 2007, and had been called before traffic commissioner in 2013 as the director of then-named Cramond Coaches over a lack of financial standing.
Operators are required to have a minimum amount of money set aside at any one time as a condition of their licence, but the 2013 inquiry heard that Mr Pender “does not see why he should keep money available in this particular business because he wants to expand all his other businesses”. At the time, his operator licences were reduced but not revoked as a penalty.