PERMANENT replacements have been found for bus services formerly operated by a North Yorkshire coach firm, after it suddenly ceased trading.

North Yorkshire County Council has finalised permanent transport contracts for school and public bus services previously operated by Stephensons of Easingwold.

The company operated school and local bus services under contract to the county council in addition to a commercial bus network which wasn’t subsidised by the council.

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Temporary emergency arrangements were put in place when Stephensons suddenly ceased trading in January. Emergency transport had to be found for about 900 pupils when the company announced at 4.30pm on Friday, January 19 that it would be unable to fulfil its contracts as of the following Monday morning. The routes affected included 27 school bus services in Hambleton, Ryedale and Harrogate and six passenger routes.

Now permanent alternative services for school transport and county council-contracted local bus services will operate from February 19.

One key change is to the Malton and Norton town service, which will now be run with an amended timetable on a commercial basis using a county council fleet vehicle, as no commercial operator has come forward.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Integrated Passenger Transport, said: “We know how vital these bus services are to people’s daily lives and our staff have pulled out all the stops to get alternative providers to operate the services.”

Full service details can be found at northyorks.gov.uk/bus-timetables