County council transport bosses have stepped into the breach to save bus services in Craven.

Plans to offer the routes to other commercial firms floundered when none came forward.

So with only days to go before Pennine buses folded after almost 100 years of running services in Skipton and Craven, North Yorkshire County Council has agreed to take them on itself from Monday, May 19..

But county chiefs have been unable to rescue every service and there will be fewer journeys.

They have arranged to run an essential Monday to Friday service covering four routes: Skipton to Carleton; Skipton to Embsay; the Horse Close Circular in Skipton and the Skipton/Giggleswick/Settle route.

Transport bosses, who assessed the cost of operating a service using their own fleet, concluded it could operate an essential Monday to Friday timetable and recover all operating costs through the fares paid and concessionary fares.

County Coun Chris Metcalfe, executive member for public passenger transport, said: “In the absence of a commercial operator coming forward the county council has made a considerable effort to ensure that local people will be able to access essential services.

“I appreciate that we are offering Monday to Friday service and fewer journeys than the existing service, but we will now seek future opportunities to work with other providers to improve the level of service without council subsidy and we will follow these up once we have established our service.”

Pensioner Margaret Wooler, of Moorview Way, Skipton, said she had feared the impact the loss of services would have on people living in the Horse Close and Greatwood and Shortbank Road areas of Skipton.

Many older people relied on the bus to get into Skipton and back because they were not fit enough to walk and could not afford taxis. Often this is also the only time they can get out and meet other people. It’s not just a bus service but somewhere people can have social contact,” she said.

“People have been talking in the bus queue about the possibility of losing the service and they were very worried.”

Meanwhile, parents are being notified of separate arrangements for all children entitled to free school transport.