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Bus driver sacked for testing positive for drugs wins substantial pay out

A bus driver from Bristol who was sacked after testing positive for cocaine has won a substantial pay out by proving the drug came from bank notes handed over by passengers.

58-year-old Alan Bailes, had to take a saliva test after a complaint he was "under the influence of cannabis". He was dismissed by First Group for gross misconduct. Alan spent £440 on a more accurate hair follicle test with his GP which proved there had been no drugs in his system for 90 days.

Alan Bailes tested positive for cocaine after handling bank notes Credit: ITV News

But First Bus refused to reinstate him, despite his previously unblemished disciplinary record. After a two-and-a-half-year battle, Bristol Tribunal Court concluded he'd been unfairly dismissed and he has been awarded him a five-figure compensation sum.

First Group said "we believe we followed due process throughout."

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Bus topples over in Somerset

Two bus passengers have been treated in hospital after a double-decker toppled sideways into a ditch in Somerset.The vehicle was carrying 17 passengers when it crashed into the roadside gulley between Burnham-on-Sea and Brean, and came to rest at a 45-degree angle.

The First Bus vehicle was travelling the five-mile coastal route when it crashed.

Two people who clambered out of the wrecked vehicle were taken to hospital and the road was cordoned off while the cause of the crash was investigated.The First Bus vehicle was travelling the five-mile coastal route when it crashed.

The vehicle was carrying 17 passengers when it crashed into the roadside gulley between Burnham-on-Sea and Brean.

First Bus debate

People in Bristol will have the chance to have their say about bus services in the city today. First Bus are holding a question and answer session with some of the company's managers at Southmead hospital.

They say it'll give people a chance to ask about changes to fares and highlight any problems.

First Bus are holding a question and answer session today with some of the company's managers at Southmead hospital Credit: ITV News West Country

Full report: Criticism of First Bus changes

The leader of the Conservative group on Bristol City Council is calling for a vote of no confidence in First Bus.

Councillor Peter Abraham says the company's refusal to listen to passengers over timetable changes is the last straw.

First Bus says minor adjustments have been made - and it will review the situation in the next few months.

Laura Makin-Isherwood reports.

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Bus routes cut in Somerset

First Group's share price plummeted earlier this week Credit: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Bus services in Taunton, Bridgwater and Weston-super-Mare face cutbacks from July. Operator First Bus is removing several routes which it says are 'underperforming'. Up to 12 people face redundancy at the Bridgwater bus depot.

The changes from July 28 are: Taunton route 92 cut; increased frequency on route 22. Bridgwater - Town Services 1, 2, and 3 cut; Weston - routes 1 and 14 cut. The news comes just days after parent company First Group saw its share price fall 30 per cent.

Bristol Mayor backs relaunched bus ticket

I am delighted that First Bus are reintroducing their popular short-hop £1 fare. I hope this bodes well for future announcements about their fare structure following the consultation exercise underway, as I will do anything I can to help make public transport more affordable. The consultation is open until the end of June, and I urge everyone in their city to have their say."

– George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol
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