Drivers ‘put others at risk by faking coach trip records’

Vision Travel in Spur Road in Cosham
Vision Travel in Spur Road in Cosham

Malicious letters detailing allegations against man being sent to homes in Portsmouth

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THE official travel company for Pompey away games and 11 coach drivers are facing dozens of charges and accusations that they put passengers’ lives at risk.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) launched its investigation into Vision Travel International and its sister company Vision Travel Minibuses.

The companies face 132 charges between them, with the 11 drivers facing a total of a further 83 charges.

Eight other drivers have already pleaded guilty or been convicted at Fareham Magistrates’ Court.

All coach drivers are legally required to take set breaks and limited as to how long they can drive in any 24-hour period to avoid tiredness.

Charges being brought against individual drivers include knowingly making a false record and taking insufficient rest. Most of the charges come under the Transport Act 1968.

The two companies are charged under the same Act in relation to the rest breaks and the alleged falsifying of tacograph charts. Outlining the case against drivers and the two Vision Travel firms, prosecutor Felicity Hine told how the companies were visited by VOSA officers on February 23 and 24 and asked to provide tachograph recordings for all journeys in November and December 2010.

She said: ‘These have been huge undertakings requiring a lot of manpower.

‘The officers took away a vast amount of information which they then spent months analysing.’

She described the tachograph as ‘a bit like a map of the driver’s working day.

‘It also records rests and breaks taken through the day.’

If information is altered or not entered properly, she added, ‘there are huge knock-on effects as far as enforcement goes. It’s not just putting other road users at risk, it’s the passengers and the drivers as well.’

The investigation has cost the taxpayer £57,873. VOSA said it would not comment on an ongoing case.

The remaining 11 drivers and both companies are due back at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court for a hearing next month.