Public inquiry into conduct of beleaguered Stevenage coach firm begins

Chambers Coaches is the subject of a public inquiry which opened today.

Chambers Coaches is the subject of a public inquiry which opened today. - Credit: Archant

A public inquiry which will consider whether Stevenage coach firm Chambers Coaches should be stripped of its operating licence opened today in Cambridge.

Former drivers and staff members attended the first day of the Office of the Traffic Commissioner inquiry at Eastbrook House. Many of them will give evidence to the inquiry explaining why they think the company’s owner Robert Kreuger should be stripped of his licence.

The inquiry covers both Chambers and Eclipse Coaches, both owned by Mr Kreuger.

On the first day while outlining the case, deputy transport commissioner Marcia Davis expressed concern that Mr Kreuger had not informed the Traffic Commissioner within 28 days that he had moved the operating base of Eclipse Coaches to Foxburrow Hill in Lowerstoft and had changed maintenance companies for his coaches. This is a legal requirement of operating licences.

Mr Kreuger responded that he had applied to make the changes online and would provide screen shots proving this.

Chambers had celebrated its golden jubilee in 2016, but was taken over by new owner Robert Krueger in January 2017 after long-term owners Martin Chambers and Debra Tidey decided to step down.

In June 2017 the firm hit problems which forced it to cancel many trips, most notably leaving John Henry Newman School pupils stranded on the school pick up run.

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The inquiry will consider whether Chambers Coaches Ltd itself should face disciplinary action under the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 or the Transport Act 1985.

When Mr Kreuger took over Chambers he set up a parent company called Varsity Transport Holdings Ltd to manage Chambers and another coach firm he owns called Eclipse Coaches Ltd.

Eclipse will also be subject to the inquiry which will investigate whether it should be disciplined for breaching the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 and the Transport Act 1985.

All three coach companies remain active according to information held at Companies House, but the Comet understands Chambers left its base at Jacks Hill Park in Graveley in December.

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