AGREEMENT has been reached on a commercially run bus service linking Skipton, Settle and Giggleswick.

Kirkby Lonsdale Coach hire, operator of Dalesbus, looks set to take on the former Pennine 580 service, which since May has been run on a vastly scaled down basis by North Yorkshire County Council.

Following lengthy discussions between the bus operator, council officers, councillors, Friends of Dalesbus and Skipton MP Julian Smith, a Saturday service could start as early as July 12, followed by a six day a week service in September.

If everything goes to plan, the service - although two hourly, will include an early morning bus to Skipton and one leaving late in the evening. It is also believed that the fares will be two thirds of that charged by the former Pennine buses.

Richard Blaikie, manager of Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire, said there were issues still be to be resolved and it would have to be agreed by the Traffic Commission, but the intention was to take the service on.

"It is good news and the intention is to take it on, we've just got to get a few things together and then we can announce timings," he said.

A council spokesman said it was a good result which would result in a better service and hoped it would be widely supported.

The temporary service currently being run by the council will be withdrawn and buses used tom improve services elsewhere in Skipton.

“Their proposed service offers a wider range of journey opportunities than are currently provided and addresses a number of the concerns which have been expressed locally.

" As a commercial service, the operator is relying on income from users and so it is essential that it is well used."

Colin Speakman, vice chairman of Friends of DalesBus, said he hoped people would support the service.

" I warmly welcome this and hope the communities of Craven will support it in every way," he said.

He added that those able to pay , but with concessionary passes, could pay fares to help ensure the future of the service.

Cllr Robert Heseltine, chairman of the county council charged with finding new and innovative solutions to public bus services, said he hoped it would be a success.

"It is like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the much loved Pennine services. This new service is a fine example of co-operation and commonsense."

Skipton MP Julian Smith said: ‘After several weeks of anguish for many constituents across Craven I am pleased that it looks like a more workable solution is coming together.

"I am pleased that North Yorkshire County Council has worked hard to try to reflect customer feedback on timetable revisions for its own services and if reports of a commercial operator taking up part of the routes in the coming weeks do materialise, then this is excellent news.

"This has been a team effort combining the Craven Herald, community bus campaigners like Colin Speakman, parish, local and county councillors from across the political spectrum and I am pleased that this effort looks as if it has got the results we wanted.’