Sudden bus company closure forces county council to fill in with own vehicles

Photo: milesgilmour/iStock

North Yorkshire County Council has stepped in with its own fleet vehicles after two bus services disappeared following the closure of a local bus operator.

Utopia Coaches went out of business literally overnight, announcing via Twitter one evening in August that services for the following day wouldn’t be running.

With residents essentially left stranded, the county council opted to fill in with a reduced service for the 426 Selby-Cawood-York route and the 492/493 route, which serves Sherburn to Knottingley.

Knowing that a permanent provider will have to be put into place, the county council has also agreed to investigate a longer term solution to the lack of services on the 42 and the 492/493 routes.

Cllr Andrew Lee, local member for Cawood, said the council was “making every effort to provide a solution to the problem”.

“We know how vitally important transport connections are for our residents as they go about their daily lives and our officers have been pulling out all the stops to work with other providers to resolve the issues so people are not left stranded,” he commented.  

Cllr Lee added that due to the level of concern, the council was putting its own fleet in place to provide temporary services.

Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s executive member for passenger transport, said Utopia’s liquidation was “totally unexpected”.

He praised the efforts of the passenger transport team for working with urgency to secure replacements for the council’s own contracted services in a bid to minimise disruption to passengers.

“We are now looking hard at what we can do to find providers to step in long-term for these two commercial operations,” Mr Mackenzie went on to say.

Stephen Hasley, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, adds: “Councils and local authorities are often an easy target for the public, but here is an example of a county council stepping up to the plate with genuine concern that their residents wouldn’t be properly served. The fact they’ve even used their own fleet of vehicles deserves extra commendation.”

Photo: milesgilmour/iStock

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