A BUS company can no longer transport pupils to school after having its public service vehicle (PSV) licence revoked.

Hobans, which runs school bus services to Cockermouth School, Keswick School and Energy Coast UTC at Lillyhall, said the PSV licence had been lost over an ‘avoidable technicality’ and they would now be going through an appeal.

Records on the PSV operator licences register show that the registered bus services running under the licence held by Hobans had been ‘revoked with immediate effect’ from October 25.

Families and schools affected were informed that the school bus service could no longer operate the day before half term, leaving many parents scrambling for school transport this week.

One parent said he was ‘annoyed’ at Hobans after paying £133 at the start of term to get his son from Workington to Cockermouth School. He said his son was now getting a Stagecoach service bus to school instead.

A statement from Hobans said: “As lots of you will be aware Hobans will be unable to provide home to school services on our PSV Operators Licence.

“This affects our UTC, Keswick and Cockermouth School routes as well as a number of other private contracts.  All schools and parents affected by this have been contacted directly and alternatives have been provided where possible.

“We are working hard with the North West Transport Commissioner to resolve this; however, this does mean going through appeal which is likely to be a lengthy process.

“We sincerely apologise to all the parents and children who have been affected, especially given the terribly short notice and understand your frustrations.

“Hobans has been taking children to and from school for many years, so to have the PSV part of our business grounded so suddenly on an avoidable technicality has saddened every member of the Hobans team, however, as a professional operator we must adhere to this and will provide further updates as soon as we have them.”

A Cockermouth School spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Hobans cannot currently operate their service for these students and we hope this can be re-established.

“School transport for those outside school catchment is via public transport or commissioned or provided by parents. With the change to this privately commissioned service, students and parents will have to provide transport themselves, sharing this, using the available public transport or commissioning a new provider.

“Many students who attend Cockermouth School already successfully use the public service available between Workington and Cockermouth.

“Where students have extra specific needs we will ensure they have the necessary application form to be assessed for local authority commissioned services although for those out of catchment this is based on spare seat availability only.”

Kerryann Wilson, head of Energy Coast UTC said: "It is really disappointing that Hobans are no longer able to provide a service for students to the UTC.

"We have endeavoured to source alternate transport but at such short notice and with many contracts already secured for the current academic year, we have been unsuccessful in our attempts to secure another service that is financially viable so far.

"We have suggested to parents that they car share or use public transport until the issue is resolved. We have also been in touch with our local MP to alert them to the issue and seek further support with the matter.

"If there are any local transport companies who would be able to support us, we would be very grateful if they could get in touch."