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Manchester bus companies banned

Two Manchester bus companies have been banned from the roads following serious concerns about the safety of their drivers.

Published on January 4th 2007.

Manchester bus companies banned

More than 60 Greater Manchester buses have been taken off the roads amid safety fears about drivers.

Transport bosses have said pupils returning to school will not be hit by the decision to ban two bus operators from the roads.

GM Buses and UK North, which operate 17 schools services between them, have been taken off the road until a decision on their future has been made, later this month. In the mean time replacement buses to schools have been laid on by the passenger transport authority.

Representatives from GM Buses and UK North appeared at a public hearing in Warrington before North West Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell.

Traffic commissioners are independent regulators for the passenger transport industry. They have powers to revoke, suspend and curtail a company's licence to operate.

Ms Bell said she was concerned over the safety of the firm's Polish drivers. One hundred of 130 of the drivers at UK North are Polish and many have a poor understanding of English. She said she was not convinced the drivers had been properly trained.

The investigation into their safety records began after a man died in a bus accident on Oxford Road in November. Martin Pilling, of East Moor Road Worsley in Salford, died after he was struck by a UK North bus on Wilmslow Road in Rusholme on 1 November. The 27-year-old fell in front of the double decker bus and died at the scene.

The UK North depot was examined three days later and concerns were raised over the safety of the vehicles and the amount of training the drivers had received.

Lynda Moyo

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