Parents of schoolchildren likely to be hit by the closure of Skipton-based Pennine Motors next month are being reassured they will not be left high and dry.

North Yorkshire County Council says alternative arrangements will be made for children currently entitled to free school transport on Pennine buses. It is also looking at taking on some of the bus company’s commercial routes.

In addition, bus operator Transdev says it will be increasing its services in and around the Skipton area.

Pennine, which operates 14 buses throughout Craven, confirmed last week that it would cease operating on Friday, May 16.

The Broughton Road-based family-run company, which has been going since 1925, said it could no longer cope with losses incurred through concessionary fares, and increased competition on some of its routes.

Questions by the local Labour party have also revealed North Yorkshire County Council has cut its local bus subsidies budget by nearly 14 per cent from 2010 to the current year. And the budget from this April will also see a further cut of 25 per cent from £5.071 million to £3.797 million.

A spokesman for the local Labour group Bob Holland: “The effects of this are likely to be disastrous, especially for two groups – those pensioners who do not have own cars and those who need transport to work.

“It’s the economics of the madhouse.”

Transdev plans to increase the frequency of its Mainline service into Skipton and to make some changes to the route.

An extra bus will mean additional peak-time journeys and services throughout the day and during the week, up to four buses every hour will run between Skipton, Barnoldswick and East Lancashire.

Many of the additional journeys will run via Craven College, Gargrave Road, providing a half- hourly link to the town centre.

Transdev will also be working with the county council to review other services.

Richard Jackson, Transdev’s development director, said “We are greatly saddened to hear of the possible demise of such an established company. Unfortunately it seems the cuts that are currently being imposed across all public transport operators have had a dramatic effect on Pennine Motor service.

“We are however pleased to be able to offer an improved service, which should minimise the impact on the local community and bus users”

The company hopes to have its new services up and running from Monday, May 19, the weekend after the last Pennine bus runs.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: “Pennine operates a number of commercial services in the Skipton Area and these carry some pupils who are entitled to free home to school transport.

“The county council wishes to reassure parents that when the company does cease trading, it will make alternative arrangements to transport these children. The council will also consider which, if any of the commercial services it may wish to see continue to be provided and will seek to retain these through short term contracts.”