North Yorkshire County Council has been working through the weekend to put alternative bus services in place after Stephensons of Easingwold announced that it will not be in a position to operate its County Council contracts from tomorrow.

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 on Friday afternoon, the County Council’s integrated passenger transport team has been working hard through the weekend 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.

The team has successfully put in place arrangements to cover all of these school transport contracts on an emergency basis using other local operators.

Details of the arrangements can be found on the County Council’s website,

The County Council has contacted all schools affected to make them aware of the situation and to ask them to share the information on their websites and with parents. The authority has also contacted parish councils in affected areas to make them aware of the situation.

The County Council has not yet been able to secure replacement local bus services provided under contract to the council.

Unfortunately there will be a loss of service for passengers for a time on some routes until the council can undertake a tender exercise to attempt to secure replacements. Details of the services that will not be operating can be found on the County Council website.

Stephensons also operated several services on a commercial or private basis. Although the County Council had no role in the provision of these services it is aware that some other commercial operators have announced that they will be picking up some of the services.

Transdev announced late yesterday that its Coastliner service will take over operation of the 29 and 31x services from Easingwold and Helmsley to York, running to the same timetable from tomorrow morning.

However, other commercial routes remain affected while other commercial operators consider whether they want to provide alternative services.

“We know how vital 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 Monday morning, our staff have pulled out all the stops to get alternative providers to pick up the services as a matter of urgency.

“Our priority has been home to school routes so that families could be assured that their children would be able to go to school and continue their education as normal on Monday morning. In the event we have managed to secure cover for all 27 school contracts.

“We are very pleased that Transdev has come forward so quickly to pick up the commercial Easingwold and Helmsley to York routes with its Coastliner service so that those timetables will continue to run normally without a break.

“We wish to assure members of the public that our staff are very aware of the impact the sudden loss of transport services can have on people’s lives and that we are doing all we can to minimise disruption and to restore services as swiftly as possible.”