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Last Updated: Friday, 22 December 2006, 18:56 GMT
Bus companies banned from roads
UK North bus
More than 60 buses have been taken off the roads
Two Manchester bus companies have been banned from the roads over Christmas after serious concerns were raised about the safety of their drivers.

Representatives from GM Buses and UK North appeared at a public hearing in Warrington before North West Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell on Friday.

The investigation into their safety records began after a man died in a bus accident on Oxford Road last month.

Ms Bell said she was concerned over the safety of the firm's Polish drivers.

One hundred of 130 of the drivers at UK North are Polish the hearing was told many had a poor understanding of English.

Cherry picker - photo courtesy of Manchester Evening News
Martin Pilling died after he was struck by a bus in November

She said she was not convinced the drivers had been properly trained.

Traffic commissioners are independent regulators for the passenger transport industry.

They have powers to revoke, suspend and curtail a company's licence to operate.

Sign writer Martin Pilling, of East Moor Road, Worsley, in Salford, was in the basket of a cherry picker when it was hit by a UK North bus on Wilmslow Road in Rusholme on 1 November.

The 27-year-old fell in front of the double decker bus and died at the scene shortly after 0800 GMT.

The UK North depot was examined three days later and concerns were raised over the safety of the vehicles and the amount of training the drivers had received.

More than 60 buses will be stopped from Friday until 2 January when the inquiry will reconvene.

Cherry picker man's name revealed
03 Nov 06 |  Manchester
Bus crash kills cherry picker man
01 Nov 06 |  Manchester

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