VILLAGERS in Carleton are to launch "bus riding" protests to highlight the inadequacy of the local service.

Following the demise of Pennine Motors, the community is served by a 16-seat minibus, operated by North Yorkshire County Council, which runs three times a day on weekdays and not at all at weekends or Bank Holidays.

And, last week, the Save Our Bus Campaign called a public meeting to voice its concern over the reductions.

More than 140 people packed into the village hall and agreed an action plan to move the campaign forward.

A petition and survey are to be organised and a series of peaceful “bus riding” protests will be held to fill the bus to highlight the need for a more frequent service.

Residents are also being encouraged to write to the county council with their own experience and problems and to send copies to local councillors.

Contact will be made with national campaign groups and community transport schemes to investigate what else can be done to protect the service.

Steve Richardson, from the Save Our Bus Campaign, said: "This is not about economics or financial constraints. This is a political decision taken by North Yorkshire County Council who chose to cut the public transport subsidy because it is an easy target, but it is one that affects the old and vulnerable in our society.

"It is a cowardly decision and they should be ashamed.”

A county council spokesman said: “ “North Yorkshire County Council stepped in to provide a service to the communities of Embsay, Carleton and Horse Close affected by the withdrawal of Pennine Motors.

"We are now providing three return journeys a day for the Carlton community and we continue to monitor passenger usage, which is very low compared to other areas we serve."

Anyone who wishes to get involved with the campaign should call Steve on 01756 709791.