2016 is set to be another spectacular year of sport for the UK.  Specialist Transport Solicitor Malcolm Haddow, explains how passenger transport operators can stay within the law when taking fans to sporting events.  

Ahead of the forthcoming Olympics, 6 Nations and other regular scheduled sporting events, the Traffic Commissioner for England and Wales has sought to remind all operators of passenger transport vehicles of their obligations regarding the consumption and carrying of alcohol on a bus or coach that is being used primarily to convey the passengers for the whole or part of a journey either to or from a sporting event.

It is in an offence for the operator of the passenger transport vehicle to permit the consumption or carrying of alcohol on the vehicle on its journey.  It is expected that the drivers, so far as is reasonably possible, will supervise passengers both entering and exiting the vehicle to ensure that they are not obviously carrying any alcoholic beverages. The drivers are not expected to be undertaking any form of personal search nor will they be expected to confiscate alcohol, the driver will simply be placed in the position of refusing to drive the vehicle until such time as the alcohol is removed from the vehicle.

In addition to reminding the operators of their duties to comply with the law on alcoholic consumption there are new guidelines for the operators of passenger transport vehicles to comply with when carrying people to sporting events. These guidelines are currently purely voluntary, however, if not adhered to and there is a report from the Police in due course to the Traffic Commissioner that the operator fails to comply with these guidelines, then the Traffic Commissioner has reserved the right to apply these as specific conditions to an operators’ operating licence.

The guidelines are summarised as follows:


  1. Coach operators taking bookings from groups of supporters are to notify the local Police Liaison Officer at the destination, at least 48 hours before the event, of the number of supporters expected to travel and the number of coaches booked.

  2. Coaches are not to stop within 10 miles of the venue either on-route to or on departure from the event unless prior agreement is obtained from the local Police Liaison Officer.

  3. Unless directed otherwise by a Police Officer, coaches may stop at premises where intoxicating liquor is sold only if it is sold ancillary to a substantial meal.  Prior agreement for meal stops where alcohol is available should be sought by the operators from the local Police Liaison Officer.

  4. Coaches are to arrive at the venue no earlier than 2 hours before and not later than 1 hour before the scheduled start of the game, unless otherwise directed by Police.

  5. Coaches are not to sit down or uplift passengers at any unauthorised locations without prior permission of the Police.

  6. Coaches must leave the venue within 1 hour of the finish of the event.

  7. Intoxicating liquor must not be carried on coaches travelling to or from designated grounds. Operators will draw hirers attention to the requirements of the Law and drivers shall, as far as reasonably practical, supervise boarding passengers and check that they are not obviously carrying intoxicating alcohol.  Drivers will not be expected to carry out baggage or body searches, nor will they be expected to confiscate alcohol or to remove passengers without Police assistance.

How we can Help

If you are concerned about your obligations under the above or have any queries, then McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited can provide advice and assistance as we have a great deal of experience assisting transport companies with a variety of matters. In addition to the new guidelines we can typically help with:

  • Representation before the Traffic Commissioner for England and Wales at Public Inquiries
  • Representation at Magistrates Court on drivers hours offences
  • Assisting those forming a transport company
  • Assisting those transport companies that are struggling
  • Assisting transport companies with debt collection and contract disputes and assisting transport companies with drafting contracts or terms and conditions

Our specialists know the need to provide proactive, accurate and fast advice.  We know that the regulations around the use of freight transport vehicles and passenger vehicles can be a minefield  and McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited have the ability to provide you with the assistance you need.

At MW we have a team of expert solicitors dedicated to helping YOUR transport business, whether you have issues with drivers hours, the new guidelines above all have been summoned to a public inquiry we can assist.  Call us today on 020 3551 8500 or you can email us at  enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

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