Forest of Dean school bus contract cut over ‘filthy’ vehicles

A Gloucester Minibus vehicle
Image caption Gloucester Minibus took children to school in Gloucestershire

A company which parents said was using “filthy” buses to take their children to school has lost its contract.

Pupils reported mouldy seats, rotten food not being cleared up and smoke coming from behind seats on vehicles run by Gloucester Minibuses.

One schoolgirl told the BBC her bus was so filthy and damp she had to stand for an entire journey.

The local council apologised and said it would no longer use the company for its school transport.

Image caption Parents say the minibuses are dirty

School pupils in the Forest of Dean alleged Gloucester Minibuses’ vehicles were in a disgusting state.

Millie, a pupil at Dene Magna School, said on one journey there had been smoke coming from behind the seats.

“We put our hands over it and it was quite warm,” she said.

“One of us out a finger down there and it came out with black ash on it.”

Millie’s mother Tania said she felt the buses were dangerous.

She said: “It’s an accident waiting to happen. Those vehicles shouldn’t be on the road. They belong in a scrapyard,”

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Pupils say some Gloucester Minibus vehicles had mouldy seats

Katie, another pupil at Dene Magna School, said she had also travelled on a dirty bus.

“There was a mouldy apple on the floor, the seats were mouldy and wet so you couldn’t sit down.”

Her mother Claire said: “This has to stop. [The buses] are filthy and unreliable.”

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire County Council said they were “really concerned” about the claims and took “immediate action” to investigate.

They added: “As a result we have terminated all school contracts with Gloucester Minibuses with immediate effect and arranged alternative operators from today.”

Speaking before the contract was cancelled, Gloucester Minibuses director Steven Smee said all the concerns had been addressed and it was co-operating fully with the council investigation.

When contacted after the council’s decision he declined to comment.

The company was sanctioned last year by the Traffic Commissioner over failings in the way it managed its safety inspection records.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency told the BBC it was also investigating the company over a claim a door on a school bus opened while it was moving.

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