Bus users are to petition North Yorkshire County Council for an improvement to the stop-gap service set up after the shock closure of Pennine Motors.

County Hall has stepped into the breach with a vastly reduced service and using only 16-seater mini-buses.

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

The new set up means that no buses run on Saturdays and the timetable has been drastically reduced.

Potential passengers have also criticised the lack of timetables at bus stops.

Regular bus user, Rachel Flynn, who lives in Hellifield and is helping to spearhead the petition, said: "The service has been devastated.

"We have no buses on Saturdays and the first bus from Hellifield to Skipton in the morning is at 9.16am. Hopeless for getting to work.

"We're asking North Yorkshire to give us larger buses than 16-seaters, we want a service in the afternoon so people can have a day out, get to Settle, go to hospital and such things and we would like a Saturday service."

Andrew Wilson, of Embsay, said there was great deal of anger about the bus situation in the village.

"Although three buses are timetabled from Embsay Village Hall into Skipton Monday to Friday only two of these, the 10am and 11.30am departures, have a return working to Embsay.

"This makes the arranging of appointments with doctors, dentists and other professions even harder than it was and as for trying to shop and get heavy bags back to Embsay, a near impossibility."

North Yorkshire County Councillor, Shelagh Marshall, a member of County Hall's transport task group, stressed that the service was a stop gap-measure and she was optimistic a commercial service could be found.

On Monday she carried out her own survey with passengers and found that an extra bus had been employed to enable everybody to get a seat at Gargrave.

The 10am bus at Embsay had been overloaded and two men agreed to walk into Skipton to allow two women to ride.

"There were too many people waiting for the bus in Skipton at 11am to go back to Embsay, so the driver asked if people were willing to wait for him to make the trip to Embsay and come back to pick them up," she said.

She said anyone who wished to contact her about the situation could email her on marshall@uwclub.net or telephone 01756 794861

A North Yorkshire County Council spokesman said: "At this stage the priority is to ensure some continuity of service and we will closely monitor passenger usage over the next few months.

"We are providing what we can within our resources, so we hope that other local bus operators may re-consider and come forward in the near future to provide some journeys on a commercial basis.”