Bus driver disciplined by firm after Portchester double decker bridge crash

ACCIDENT The crash in Portchester caused the roof of the bus to come off
ACCIDENT The crash in Portchester caused the roof of the bus to come off
The accident is causing short delays both ways at Southampton Road

TRAVEL AND WEATHER: Delays on A27 after collision and breakdown

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BUS company First has disciplined the driver of a double decker bus which smashed into a low bridge in Portchester.

The News reported earlier this month how the firm planned to carry out a ‘thorough investigation’ into the dramatic incident on September 5.

The bus ploughed into the railway bridge over Station Road at around 1pm, ripping its roof clean off.

Thankfully there were no passengers on the bus, which was out of service.

The driver was left shaken by the incident but did not suffer serious injury.

People were walking across the railway bridge at the time of impact but no one was hurt.

Network Rail confirmed it caused no damage to the bridge and train services were only briefly delayed by the crash.

The driver was not arrested and will not face further prosecution.

But The News revealed he could undertake a driver safety course as a result.

Now First says it has investigated the incident and found the ‘deeply regrettable’ crash was due to human error.

A spokesman for First said: ‘First has fully investigated the incident that happened on September 5 in Portchester.

‘The cause was human error and the appropriate disciplinary action has since been taken.

‘We would like to reassure our customers that such incidents are extremely rare.

‘We would, once again, like to take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of the incident.’

First Bus would not comment further on the disciplinary proceedings or why the driver ended up in Station Road, citing reasons of employee confidentiality.

The incident caused an estimated £50,000 worth of damage, The News understands.

Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said he was satisfied with First’s outcome and the police’s decision not to prosecute the driver.

He said: ‘Nothing more can be done to prevent it from happening but fortunately the bus wasn’t in service.

‘I am sure if the driver had people on there he would be facing further action, but I am sure the police have produced a proportioned response to what’s happened.

‘It’s for the police to deal with in that aspect but I am quite satisfied it’s down to driver error.

‘Thankfully there was no one else on board at the time but it wouldn’t have been down that road if it was in service.’