We have been working over last weekend and throughout this week to put alternative bus services in place after Stephensons of Easingwold announced last Friday that it was to cease trading.
North Yorkshire County Council has been working over last weekend and throughout this week to put alternative bus services in place after Stephensons of Easingwold announced last Friday that it was to cease trading.
The company operated both school and local bus services under contract to the County Council as well as providing a commercial bus network that was not subsidised by the council.
Since receiving this news late last Friday afternoon, the County Council’s integrated passenger transport team has pulled out all the stops to arrange alternative services, focusing initially on the 27 school transport contracts that Stephensons provided for 900 secondary and primary pupils entitled to free school transport in the Ryedale, Harrogate and Hambleton districts.
All home to school transport services have been running normally since Monday and all county council-contracted local bus services, bar one, will be running from tomorrow.
The county council has written to all families of school children affected to thank them for their co-operation and to explain what action has been taken and what will happen next and when.
“We know how vital these bus services are to people’s daily lives,” said County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Integrated Passenger Transport. “For this reason, as soon as we were informed late Friday by Stephensons that they would cease operations from Sunday night, our staff have pulled out all the stops to get alternative providers to pick up the services as a matter of urgency.
“Our priority was home to school routes so that families could be assured that their children would be able to go to school as normal on Monday morning. In the event we have managed to secure cover for all 27 school contracts and they are working well.
“We are now very glad to say that all but one of our County Council-supported contracted local bus services will be up and running from tomorrow.”
Stephensons also operated several services on a commercial or private basis. Although the County Council had no role in the provision of these services other commercial operators have picked some of them up and they have been running this week.
Cllr Mackenzie added: “Our staff are very aware of the impact the sudden loss of transport services can have on people’s lives and are making every possible effort to restore services as swiftly as possible.”