Council cancels bus contracts following inspection

Aberdeenshire Council has ended its contracts with two bus operators for buses on specified school routes after three vehicles failed inspections.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carried out checks on seven companies that transport children to and from Meldrum Academy on Thursday, January 25. They ruled one bus to be not roadworthy and two others to be fit for use once repairs had been made.

This decision led the council to cancel its contracts (NS705I20 and NS705J20) with coach operators J&M Burns and Kineil Coaches in the operation of the vehicles which failed the inspections. This will take effect from Wednesday, February 14. Aberdeenshire is also considering applying penalties to Watermill Coaches under our performance management policy. 

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “The council takes the safety of children extremely seriously and this includes when they are being transported to and from school.

“It was therefore important that the council acted swiftly and robustly in terminating the contracts of these buses. This action sends out a strong and reassuring message to parents and guardians that safety breaches by council contractors will not be tolerated.”

Committee vice chair, Cllr Mark Findlater, said: “The Council has systems in place to ensure third party companies who provide services on our behalf meet the terms of the contract. When there are occasions where lapses occur the Council can and does demand improvements are made.

“I am very pleased to see the Council act firmly in this matter. I hope this response gives comfort to families who use Council-run buses when they send their children to and from school.”

The bus companies concerned have the right to appeal the decision. If this happens a hearing will take place to determine an outcome.