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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Talks held as bus company closes
A bus firm providing school transport in Sussex is to cease trading, West Sussex County Council has revealed.

Emergency meetings took place at the council this week to discuss the development at Palaeobus, Councillor Tex Pemberton said.

Lt Col Pemberton said immediate moves are being made so about 100 children who receive free school transport receive an uninterrupted service.

Nobody at the bus and coach operator in Goring was available for comment.

We will be doing all we can on behalf of the travelling public
Tex Pemberton

A statement from West Sussex County Council said the authority "was alerted at the weekend that the company was expected to cease trading".

Contracts covering free school transport in the Horsham and Steyning areas, between Palaeobus and the council, will now be covered by other operators.

Another Palaeobus service between Worthing and Ferring, which does not involve school transport at all, has already been taken over by Compass Travel.

But in Horsham, there are four peak-time commercial Palaeobus services that were used daily by the public and about 250 to 300 secondary school pupils - and many of those families had bought season tickets.

Legal inquiries

Lt Col Pemberton said options were being discussed about those routes and talks were under way with other companies, even though there were no contracts with the council.

Legal experts at the council are also looking at what would happen about season tickets bought by some families.

He said: "It is the commercial routes that were being run by the company without any subsidy from the county council that are giving cause for concern.

"We will be doing all we can on behalf of the travelling public."

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