City Sprinter, which operates routes from Shawlands and Castlemilk to the city centre, will be banned from running bus services as of 11.59pm on November 8 following the outcome of a public inquiry called after inspectors raised concerns about the company. City Sprinter, which employs 29 staff including 22 drivers, said last night that it would appeal the decision.
One of the firm's drivers, Stuart McFarlane, has also been stripped of his licence for five weeks for using a mobile phone at the wheel, cutting through a red light and carrying passengers while the vehicle's emergency exit was blocked.
Evidence was led in Edinburgh on August 26 this year, after which Richard McFarlane, Deputy Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, adjourned the case to offer City Sprinter Ltd a second chance "to satisfy [Mr McFarlane] with regard to appropriate financial standing".
However, a spokesman for the Traffic Commissioner's office confirmed they had been unable to do so and would lose their licence next month unless they were successful in appealing the ruling. It is unclear why the company failed the financial test, however, as these details have not been made public.
City Sprinter, headquartered in Nitshill, has been run by directors Ian Cunningham and John Healey for the past two years. The inquiry heard that the pair had run bus and coach companies together in Ireland for the last 15 years.
The inquiry heard that an inspection of their premises in January 2013 by a traffic examiner had led to concerns that drivers may have been routinely exceeding legal working hours on the No.38 service from Shawlands by up to 40 minutes.
On another occasion on January 25, inspectors discovered that a City Sprinter bus operating in East Renfrewshire had its emergency exit cordoned off "by tying clothing between the seats to prevent passengers from using the seats which became soaked earlier that day after a heater pipe burst".
The driver, Stuart McFarlane, was then found to be working with an expired bus driver licence and, as a result, was not insured to use the vehicle. This was blamed on poor admin by City Sprinter.
On February 8 this year, inspectors visiting the company's premises, then in Renfrew, found that a number roadworthiness records had not been signed off and that vehicles had "high annual test fail rates". Since then, however, the inquiry heard that 13 of City Sprinter's 19 buses have been tested and only one failed.
A spokesman for City Sprinter said the company intended to appeal the decision.