Eddie Brown ‘unexpectedly’ cancel Harrogate bus services

County Hall, the cenre of North Yorkshire County Council's campus in Northallerton.
County Hall, the cenre of North Yorkshire County Council's campus in Northallerton.

Passengers were left facing travel disruption on Wednesday (December 10) after Eddie Brown Tours unexpectedly cancelled school and local bus services.

Passengers were left facing travel disruption on Wednesday (December 10) after Eddie Brown Tours unexpectedly cancelled school and local bus services.

school classroom

school classroom

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) was forced to find other operators, as well as providing some of their own fleet, after being given less than one day’s notice of the withdrawal.

Pupils travelling to schools in Ripon and Boroughbridge, as well as St John Fisher and St Aiden’s were affected after the travel company cancelled the 56A, 57A, 142 and 143 services.

The 636H, 645H, 653H school services will be operated by York Pullman with the 644H operated by Procters until the end of term.

The County Council were unable to provide a service for routes 56,57 and 58 on Saturday (December 13) but announced they would now be able to provide a full timetable to Christmas.

North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Passenger Transport, Chris Metcalfe, said Eddie Brown’s withdrawal came ‘out of the blue’ and confirmed they would be making ‘further announcements’ about services after Christmas.

He said: “We have been keeping an eye on this contractor for some time after it announced financial difficulties earlier in the year.

“We have had very good co-operation from our other operators in the area, and this, combined with provision from our own fleet, has meant we have been able to keep disruption to passengers to a minimum.”

“We appreciate how essential these journeys can be, especially at this time of the year, and have made every effort to replace all the services through to Christmas.”

Richard Owens, the assistant director in charge of passenger transport at NYCC said they would be meeting with Eddie Brown next week over the ‘unsatisfactory state of affairs’.

He said: “We continue to have concerns that they are still vulnerable but, for the time being, they appear to be able to continue operating services but we are keeping a close eye on the situation.

Mr Owens said that operators, including York Pullman, Procters, Transdev and Connexions, stepping in over Christmas had been ‘incredibly useful’ as it was difficult covering local bus services.

North Yorkshire County Council has now confirmed that bus services previously operated by its contractor Eddie Brown Tours will continue, but there will be changes to the timetables and providers.

The current timetable for services 56, 57 and 58 will continue to be operated by Transdev until Monday 5 January 2015, when a new timetable will be introduced.

From 5 January, these services will be operated by Harrogate Coach Travel.

Services 142 and 143 will continue to be operated by Harrogate Coach Travel until the 5 January, when a new timetable will be introduced and the services taken over by Transdev.

Coun Metcalfe apologised for the short notice of the changes.

Eddie Brown were approached for comment but did not provide one.