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Last Updated: Monday, 7 January 2008, 17:41 GMT
Bus firm fined for late services
Eastbourne bus
Eastbourne Buses Ltd was ordered to attend the public inquiry
An East Sussex bus company has been fined 14,000 for failing to keep its services running on time.

A public inquiry in November was told 42 out of 206 Eastbourne Buses journeys observed on 25 June 2007 were more than five minutes late.

The company blamed bad weather that day, along with shortage of buses, a new timetable and a "bad driver".

A company spokeswoman said the fine was a fraction of the figure the Traffic Commissioner could have imposed.

Bus compliance officer Lance Cheetham told the inquiry the company's non-compliance rate was between 22% and 23% on 25 June.

'Not reasonable excuses'

Managing director, Stephen Barnett, blamed the weather on that day, when high winds and heavy rain caused flooding across the UK.

He also said old buses had been disposed of but too few of the new low floor buses were available to run the timetable and there was a "bad driver" on duty.

The commissioner said he did not impose the maximum penalty of 38,500 because he accepted the weather was bad.

But he said the other reasons given were not reasonable excuses.

The company was fined 200 for each of its 70 buses.

The commissioner also issued a formal warning following a conviction in July under the Health and Safety at Work Act when the company was fined 25,000 after one of its fitters was injured.

Mr Barnett said: "While any financial penalty is unwelcome, we appreciate the fact the commissioner recognised our efforts to improve reliability."

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