Dereham-based bus firm GM Travel sacked from five school runs

Hundreds of Norfolk children are travelling to school on different buses after Norfolk County Council ended a contract with a mid-Norfolk coach company.

GM Travel, based in Dereham, ran three different routes to Hamond's High School in Swaffham and two to Dereham's high schools.

But yesterday the EDP learned that the county council had ended the contract with the firm on Friday with 'immediate' effect.

The news comes two weeks after the company was sacked from another school run following a carbon monoxide scare.

A council spokesman said yesterday: 'The county council on Friday gave notice to GM Travel of the immediate termination of contracts covering five routes – three into Swaffham Hamond's High and two to Dereham high schools.

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'The operator has the right to appeal, but in the meantime current arrangements with alternative operators will remain in place.'

Matthews Coaches, based in Shouldham, near King's Lynn, has taken over the routes to Hamond's High from Necton and Marham.

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Eagles Coaches, based in Castle Acre, near Swaffham, has taken over the route from Sporle to Hamond's High.

Dereham Coachways, based in Rash's Green, Dereham, has taken over the routes to Dereham's high schools from Mattishall and Reymerston.

It is not yet known why the contract was ended.

GM Travel was sacked from another school run – Marham to Hamond's High – nearly two weeks ago after a carbon monoxide scare on a bus.

Pupils heading to the Swaffham school on Monday, February 20 were evacuated from the vehicle after they smelled fumes.

Two children were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning and four others were treated by the roadside.

A minor engine fault was eventually blamed for the problem.

Days later, the county council terminated its contract with GM Travel for that particular route with immediate effect.

At the time a council spokesman said the authority had been 'very concerned' by the evacuation and the performance of GM Travel had been under review for two months.

They added: 'Following our own monitoring and inspections by the Vehicle Operating Standards Agency, we identified areas for improvement including operating procedures, vehicle maintenance and recording, driver training and overall reliability.'

GM Travel did not respond to the EDP's request to comment.

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