Utopia Coaches enters liquidation

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Route 37 was one of the eight that Utopia Coaches had been operating.

Yorkshire-based operator Utopia Coaches suddenly ceased trading on Wednesday August 23.

The operator, which operated a fleet of 10 buses based in Sherburn-in-Elmet, announced on their Twitter feed “As from 0001hrs Wednesday, August 23, Utopia Coaches will cease trading. No services will operate again from this time.”

Utopia Coaches said that drivers who had been with the company for two or more years would be receiving two weeks’ pay.

The company also served a number of school contracts, and in a statement North Yorkshire County Council was quick to reassure students and parents: “Pupils entitled to free home to school transport will not be disrupted by the changes and arrangements with new contractors will be put in place for the start of the new school term in September.”

Cllr Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Passenger Transport, said: “The withdrawal of these services by Utopia Coaches came out of the blue. We are working hard to determine the most appropriate course of action and secure continuity of an appropriate level of service for passengers.”

In the interim period, Connexions Buses, based in Harrogate, have been awarded three of the Utopia routes, running between Sherburn-in-Elmet and Tadcaster, including the villages of Barkston Ash, Church Fenton, Ulleskelf, Saxton and Towton. This will be in place until October, and both Connexions and North Yorkshire County Council will be using this time to evaluate the service and consider what refinements may be possible. These services began August 28.

Connexions is also looking to employ former Utopia staff, and Managing Director, Craig Temple, added: “I am pleased to say that we have interviewed a number of former Utopia staff, and HR processes are already underway to on-board the successful people as soon as possible.”

Utopia Coaches has since entered the liquidation process.