Dorset

Dorset school bus service failings discussed by council

  • 15 November 2011
  • From the section Dorset
Council school bus in Dorchester
Image caption Some children were left stranded at bus stops when the new services began

A council is considering proposals to prevent a repeat of problems with school bus services in Dorset.

Parents sent dozens of complaints after Damory Coaches took over the running of home to school transport in the county, in September.

Children were left on the side of the road and drivers had not undergone security checks.

The company said it had not received adequate information from Dorset County Council.

A council committee will meet on Thursday to discuss the findings of a new report.

A preliminary report, released by the council in October, revealed problems included late or none-existent services as well as drivers not having undergone Criminal Records Bureau clearance checks.

The latest document reveals the county council received 41 formal complaints about the service and that the problem with security checks on drivers was a "major issue".

'Contingency plan'

Other problems included a lack of drivers and insufficient vehicle storage.

The report recommends the council should make sure companies are capable of fulfilling large contracts.

Another is for the authority to develop a contingency plan for the school bus service.

The report also recognised that the new contract was implemented too quickly

The Conservative-run county council awarded a number of new contracts for the home to school service in May 2011 with Damory Coaches chosen to operate the majority of routes.

When the new services started running, the council admitted there were "teething problems".

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