School bus services do well under test

NORTH Yorkshire’s school buses, used by 18,000 youngsters every day, have been deemed some of the safest in the country.

A total of 112 vehicles contracted to North Yorkshire County Council were checked during a joint safety drive – dubbed Operation Coachman – between experts from North Yorkshire Police, the county council, and the Vehicle Operating Standards Agency.

The results, published yesterday, revealed five per cent of school buses inspected were found to be in need of attention. The latest comparable figures show nationally, 19 per cent of vehicles fail to pass the inspections.

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Richard Owens, assistant director of integrated passenger transport, welcomed the findings, but said more work needed to be done.

“I am pleased, but there is always room for improvement”, he said.

“Children’s safety is clearly a very high priority for the county council, and these high standards are exactly what we expect from our contractors.”

Out of the county council’s vehicles inspected, six were found to have safety-related defects, including broken wipers, locked emergency doors, and a damaged seatbelt.

Taxi checks carried out by York police this week have also found the majority of cabs operating in the city to be roadworthy.

Officers have carried out checks on Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles across the city, and found the majority were in good condition and safe to carry passengers.

Of the 32 vehicles stopped, 22 had no issues when subjected to mechanical checks and drivers’ licences were verified by officials from York Council.

During the course of the operation, taxi licensing officers suspended two drivers for not having the correct authorisation to drive a private hire vehicle and also suspended four vehicles from use.

Police said the figures were an improvement compared to previous years.