Monmouthshire school bus driver sacked for using mobile
A SCHOOL bus driver was sacked for using his mobile phone while driving, a Monmouthshire council officer said.
It is understood the employee, who was contracted to provide school bus services by Monmouthshire council, was filmed by a pupil on the bus.
This was after a disagreement with a student who had refused to leave a Peakes Travel bus in Monmouth, according to an email sent to a concerned parent by a senior council officer.
The news comes days after the Argus reported how a number of Monmouth Comprehensive sixth form students living in rural areas were refused school transport during the first few weeks of term.
Councillor Debbie Blakebrough received eight complaints from sixth form students and their families in the Trellech and Raglan areas who were not allowed on the vehicles provided through Monmouthshire council.
On Tuesday, she met Cabinet member for Children, Young People and Learning, Cllr Liz Hacket Pain, Cabinet member for County Operations Cllr Bryan Jones and three council officers to discuss the issue.
Afterwards, she told the Argus: "It was agreed that the communication to parents about post 16 transport needed to be clearer and more efficient and this is something they would take forward."
She said due to lack of funding and policy commitment frontline council officers have the unenviable task of allocating concessionary seats on a first come first served basis.
Monmouthshire's Passenger Transport Manager Richard Cope said: “I can confirm that a driver has been dismissed by the operator for using his mobile phone while driving. No filmed evidence of this was supplied to the authority but we acted upon a complaint made by one parent. Investigating this, the operator found there was a case to answer and after a disciplinary hearing the driver was dismissed. There were also allegations a pupil was asked about the transport problems without parental consent.
“The operator spoke briefly to a post 16 pupil in order to establish whether that pupil had experienced problems in getting to school due to a lack of photographic evidence on her pass and to request from her a digital photo to incorporate within the pass,” the council spokesman added.
A spokesman for Peakes Travel said: "That driver doesn't work for us anymore." He did not wish to comment further.