Dereham coach firm taken off school run route

A Dereham-based coach company has lost the contract for a school run route following a carbon monoxide scare onboard a bus near Swaffham - but it continues to transport pupils on other routes.

Pupils heading to Hamond's High School were evacuated from a bus provided by Dereham-based firm GM Travel when they smelled fumes last week.

Two children were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning and a minor engine fault was eventually blamed for the problem.

Norfolk County Council terminated its contract with GM Travel for the Marham to Swaffham route with immediate effect, but the firm still runs five other routes in mid Norfolk.

A council spokesman said it had been 'very concerned' by the evacuation and the performance of GM Travel had been under review for two months.

'Following our own monitoring and inspections by the Vehicle Operating Standards Agency (VOSA), we identified areas for improvement including operating procedures, vehicle maintenance and recording, driver training and overall reliability,' the spokesman said.

'We have been working closely with GM Travel on an improvement plan and have involved Hamond's High School and other interested parties in this process.

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'The company is in a critical period to demonstrate an improvement to the overall operation of five transport contracts provided to the council.'

GM Travel continues to operate routes from Reymerston to Dereham, Mattishall to Dereham, Sporle to Swaffham, Necton/Holm Hale to Swaffham and a different Marham to Swaffham route.

The bus pulled over in Chalk Lane, at Beachamwell, at around 8.45am when the fire service and ambulance were called.

Four children were treated by the roadside, while two were taken the QEH and released that afternoon.

GM Travel could not be contacted for comment.