A firm which was suspended from providing a school bus service has denied that its vehicles are not fit for purpose.
Landmark Coaches used to run the J83/J93 school bus route to Samuel Whitbread Academy in Clifton.
But after complaints from parents that the company’s buses kept breaking down the contract was suspended by Central Beds Council.
But director Mark Blatchly claims the Arlesey-based firm’s buses have passed Department for Transport (DfT) inspections and are in perfect working order.
He said: “In the week preceding the first reported breakdown in January we were the recipient of a surprise spot check from a DfT inspector.
“He looked at our paperwork, picked out a vehicle and fully inspected it. He gave it a full bill of health.”
After the Chronicle’s original story about the complaints was published in our issue of Friday, February 1 another spot check followed.
Mr Blatchly added: “After the story appeared in the Chronicle our vehicles arrived at Samuel Whitbread Academy one day to find a DfT inspector waiting .
“He looked at every one of our buses that pulled into the school. He ignored those of the other companies so it is fair to assume that this was as a result of the complaint.
“He inspected our vehicles and found them to be defect-free, allowing us to carry on with our work.”
Mr Blatchly said complaints made previously about the buses by parents and students had also been exaggerated or not reported correctly.
After a bus failed to start in December the driver switched all the power off and back on and the vehicle started again immediately, he said.
By this time all of the students had left the bus, ignoring the requests of the driver, he added.
On another occasion a bus suffered a puncture but a replacement vehicle arrived just 10 minutes later, Mr Blatchly said.
He added: “We apologise to all who were inconvenienced by any of the above incidents, but we would ask parents that they remind students that in the event of a problem they stay on the bus and await further instructions.”
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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