'˜Dangerous' coach firm that used to transport Portsmouth players has licence revokedÂ

A '˜DANGEROUS' coach firm that used to ferry players from Pompey's first team to major matches has had its licence revoked by a traffic commissioner.

Friday, 12th October 2018, 9:13 am
Updated Friday, 12th October 2018, 10:19 am
Fratton Park

Airlynx Express '˜put people at serious risk from tired drivers', commissioner Kevin Rooney ruled following a major investigation into the company.

The firm, which drove teams from Portsmouth Football Club and Hampshire Cricket Club as well as children on school trips, was '˜rotten to the core', Mr Rooney said.

He found '˜serious breaches' in how the Southampton-based travel group operated that were so bad they were '˜incurable'.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mr Rooney said: '˜This is a company that has, it appears routinely and over a period of years, expected its drivers to break the rules.

'˜In terms of drivers' hours compliance, this company is rotten to the core. It is incurable.

'˜The seriousness of offending and sheer dangerous operation... mean that this is not a business that can be allowed to operate public service vehicles again.'

The commissioner's comments come after a year-long investigation into the firm by the Drivers and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and a public inquiry by the UK Traffic Commissioner, the body responsible for the licensing and regulation of coaches.

Mr Rooney's inquiry last month heard that 27 '˜substantive' offences, committed between 2016 and 2018, had been accepted by the company or its drivers.

One driver was found to have worked up to seven hours without a qualifying break. While on at least two occasions, the coach firm and holiday tour operator instructed drivers to break the law.

'˜The operator was clearly grossly non-compliant in downloading vehicle unit data, with not one vehicle downloaded on time,' the commissioner said.

Travel firm Lucketts now serve Pompey.

In May Airlynx Express was fined £10,000 after admitting four drivers' hours offences at Southampton Magistrates' Court.

The court fined 13 drivers who admitted a total of 48 offences, including failing to record journeys properly.

The company will be wound up next month.

As well as revoking the licence of Airlynx Express, the commissioner also disqualified it from holding a licence for 10 years.