Operator wins latest round in buses battle

Eddie Coakley has bus plans.
Eddie Coakley has bus plans.

A BUS operator has moved closer to a return to the road after a damning judgment against him was thrown out.

Motherwell-based Eddie Coakley was refused licences last year after traffic commissioner Joan Aitken said he lacked ‘repute, financial standing and professional competence’.

However, the businessman has now had that ruling quashed and hopes that by the end of the year he will have a fleet of buses providing a renewed challenge to First Glasgow, the area’s main operator.

Mr Coakley’s Braidhurst Bus Company went into liquidation last year after losing all 70 of its licences following a public inquiry into a series of complaints.

In October Mr Coakley applied to start afresh, operating the fleet as a sole trader.

Ms Aitken rejected his application, but he challenged that decision and now the Transport Tribunal has ruled in his favour.

However, Mr Coakley must still prove his financial standing to another traffic commissioner before he will be granted licences.

Some of his buses have remained on the road despite Ms Aitken’s ruling last year, running services for other companies.

Mr Coakley is confident that he will show he has the money to operate in his own right.

He said: “I’m pleased we are finally getting somewhere and hope the fleet will be up and running sooner rather than later.

“I think there’s more need than ever for competition in this area.”

Full story in this week’s Motherwell Times and Bellshill Speaker, on sale now.