Bus firm ditched following lights terror

A BUS firm has today been ditched by county chiefs after one of its drivers ran a level crossing light and nearly collided with a train. Following the incident at Melton last Friday, Suffolk County Council took its school contract away from The Running Footman bus company and handed it to Ipswich Buses.

A BUS firm has been ditched by county chiefs after one of its drivers ran a level crossing light and nearly collided with a train.

Following the incident at Melton, Suffolk County Council took its school contract away from The Running Footman bus company and handed it to Ipswich Buses.

Now, following high-level meetings, council bosses have dropped the company from its remaining contracts.

A three-month notice period will be served.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “The Running Footman will continue to operate the contracts until the end of the school year in July 2007, but the route affected last Friday will continue to be operated by Ipswich Buses.”

The spokeswoman said the county council will be seeking bidders for the contracts in the coming weeks for the operation of the services in the new academic year.

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She added that The Running Footman will be allowed to tender for the services but this will be conditional on the operator meeting certain standards of additional driver training and ongoing monitoring of services by qualified people.

Pupils from Farlingaye School were left terrified when the double-decker bus drove through a flashing red light at the crossing near Melton railway station on the East Suffolk rail line last Friday.

A train was approaching the station and the driver had to sound his horn and brake to potentially disastrous collision with the bus.

Councillor Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said: “This was a very serious incident, which the county council has taken immediate steps to rectify.”

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