Coach firm is told to give up its licence

Vision Travel in Spur Road in Cosham''''Picture: Paul Jacobs (113644-1)
Vision Travel in Spur Road in Cosham''''Picture: Paul Jacobs (113644-1)
CATCH LINE: University of Portsmouth University House, in Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

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A COACH firm has been told to surrender its operating licence after a catalogue of failures.

Vision Travel International, run by Peter Sharpe, was called to a public inquiry in September after a large number of its drivers and operators were convicted of infringing laws over driving time and not recording journeys properly.

It was also summoned because of poor maintenance standards, revealed by a surprise visit from VOSA – the Vehicle and Operators Services Agency – in July 2012.

The firm’s transport manager, Trevor Byng, also had his licence removed.

The traffic commissioner’s report have now been released.

In it, Sarah Bell says of Vision Travel International: ‘I pose the question – how likely it is that the operator will, in future, operate in compliance with the operators’ licensing regime? The answer must be “unlikely”.

‘The operator has given assurances in the past and failed to meet them and from the evidence I heard I am not satisfied on balance that Mr Sharpe will change. I can no longer allow this operator [Vision Travel International] to stay in the system.

‘The risk to road safety is too great and there has been unfair competition to the detriment of the legitimate industry for too long.

‘It is time to draw the line.’

At the same inquiry, held at Portsmouth’s Guildhall, the firm’s sister company, Vision Travel Minibuses, also had its licence revoked for similar reasons.

As previously reported in The News, Vision Travel Minibuses was liquidated in August last year.

But now its transport manager, David Sharpe, has been told to surrender his licence which means he will be banned indefinitely from operating a coach company anywhere in the UK or Europe, and cannot reapply for his licence for at least 18 months.

Vision Travel International, which used to provide transport for Pompey fans to away matches, will cease trading at 11.59pm on February 22.

Peter Sharpe, who remains director of both firms, declined to comment.

Drivers also warned over their conduct

The inquiry didn’t just look at the firms, it looked at their drivers, too.

Three of the former Vision Travel Minibuses drivers and 12 from Vision Travel International were summoned to a Driver Conduct Hearing, and were given warnings, for not entering times correctly on a tachograph. The latter drivers were also warned, with only one exception, for not taking rest breaks.