A COACH firm serving rural Hambleton and Richmondshire with both school transport and village services has reportedly ceased trading.

John Smith and Sons Limited, based in Dalton, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, told drivers on Thursday that the firm would not be running after the morning school run.

North Yorkshire County Council had to arrange alternative transport for hundreds of children spread across several schools in the county, including at Thirsk and Northallerton secondary schools.

A freelance driver from the Thirsk area, who asked not to be named, said: "Apparently drivers were called back to the depot after they had dropped children off at school and told that they had ceased trading.

"This put the county council in a difficult position to try and organise other arrangements for all the children that would be stranded at the end of the day."

A parent whose child attends Ripon Grammar School said he found out on Thursday afternoon.

He said: "He got a lift home but for the time being we have to make a pool of drivers with fellow parents to get them to school.

"We have also recently paid for an annual pass, upfront, straight to the company."

Bus operator John Smith and Son Ltd has told North Yorkshire County Council that it will not be in a position to operate its county council contracts from Thursday, January 17.

The company operated 14 school and one local bus service under contract to the council.

The council’s Integrated Passenger Transport team has made emergency alternative arrangements with other local providers who will operate the home-to-school transport services with immediate effect to ensure that pupils entitled to free transport will be able to get to and from school.

The local bus service 150 previously operated by John Smith and Son Ltd on Thursdays and Saturdays between Thirsk and Ripon will not operate on 19 January. The council is reviewing its options for this service in future and is hopeful that some level of service can be reinstated. Details will be posted on the council website when the council has concluded its review.

North Yorkshire County Council assistant director Ian Fielding said: “Our team has worked hard to make sure the school bus services continue to operate and we will be working closely with schools as we seek to make permanent alternative arrangements.’’

  • Details of the temporary arrangements can be found on the county council’s website, www.northyorks.gov.uk