Bus contracts reinstated following appeal

Contracts with two Aberdeenshire operators whose vehicles failed safety inspections have been reinstated after successful appeals.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carried out checks in January on vehicles operated by seven companies that transport children to and from Meldrum Academy. They issued two buses with immediate prohibition notices, meaning the vehicles could not be driven until satisfactorily repaired and re-examined.

This decision led the council to write to the affected coach operators, J&M Burns and Kineil Coaches, advising of the termination of school transport contracts NS705I20 and NS705J20 respectively, subject to appeal.

Both companies lodged appeals and, following investigation, it was concluded that the failures could have occurred during the day’s journey and could not necessarily have been identified in advance.

As the failures were not seen to be due to poor maintenance, the appeals were approved, and the contracts reinstated. The bus companies repaired the vehicles to the satisfaction of DVSA, enabling them to be used again on Aberdeenshire Council passenger transport contracts.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: “The safety of our school pupils is paramount, and it was right that we took action when the failures were identified by the DVSA.

“As mentioned at the time, we have an appeals process in place, and we have reinstated both contracts after further investigations showed the faults may have happened on the journey and could not necessarily have been identified in advance.

“We have since contacted both companies to confirm the contracts have been reinstated. We hope this demonstrates how seriously we take vehicle safety, but also that we will work with our contractors to resolve issues when they arise.”