The county council has been working urgently over the last two days to secure alternative providers of taxi and bus services in the Ripon and Harrogate areas.
This follows the sudden death of one of the council’s valued and long-standing contractors.
Shaun McGowan held over 30 contracts with the council which consisted of two local bus services and a combination of special educational needs and mainstream school transport.
His company, which traded as SP McGowan (taxi and minibus hire) with the council, is not in a position to continue to provide the services. The county council has therefore been making every effort to work with alternative providers to run the services from Monday for the start of the autumn school term.
“Our sympathy and thoughts are with Shaun’s family at this very sad time” said County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools. “We are also mindful that the new school year begins next week and we have been making every effort to work with other providers to secure services. We have also contacted parents and schools about the situation as a matter of urgency and will keep all interested parties updated with further detail of arrangements.”
County council officers have worked with alternative providers to cover most of the contracts, with only six outstanding. These will be finalised on Monday for a Tuesday start. However officers are confident that all pupils affected will have the means to get to school on Monday.
Officers have made contact with all schools as well as all families of children with special educational means affected by the new contracts, explaining the changes.
The two local bus services will be operational from Monday morning but no contractor has yet come forward to take on the Ripon Town service, run on a wholly commercial basis.