KEIGHLEY MP John Grogan has lent support to a special bus service that helps townspeople get into the Yorkshire Dales.

He took a trip on a DalesBus to Kettlewell then a short walk and pub lunch to get a taste of the delights opened up to hikers and daytrippers by the long-running service.

After meeting DalesBus bosses he called on the Yorkshire Dales National Park authority to join West Yorkshire councils in funding the service.

DalesBus runs a host of Sunday and Bank Holiday buses from Skipton, Leeds and Harrogate deep into the Dales and the Forest of Bowland, with Keighley people able to get on board after travelling on a normal bus to Skipton.

During his awayday Mr Grogan met directors of the Dales & Bowland Community Interest Company and members of Friends of DalesBus and the Yorkshire Dales Society.

He used the 874 DalesBus service which runs from Wakefield, Leeds and Ilkley to Bolton Abbey, Grassington, Kettlewell and Buckden.

Mr Grogan said the Community Interest Company were finalising plans for this summer’s DalesBus services.

He said: “They are hoping to add a new service to their Summer DalesBus network to make it possible for people from Keighley and those along the Airedale corridor to access Washburndale and Upper Nidderdale whilst also offering connections onto other DalesBus services at Otley and Pateley Bridge.

“A crucial meeting when the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority are due to set their 2018-19 Budget is expected to be held on March 27 and the walkers and bus users of Yorkshire who spend thousands in the Dales each year will be watching their decision with interest.”

Mr Grogan’s visit to Kettlewell came soon after he tabled an Early Day Motion supporting DalesBus. The motion has so far been backed by 11 MPs.

The motion congratulates the work of the not-for-profit Community Interest Company for providing affordable public passenger transport for the past 10 years.

In the motion, Mr Grogan said the DalesBus service was essential so that less traffic entered the National Parks, and provided mental and physical health benefits to West and North Yorkshire residents by improving mobility and combatting isolation and loneliness.

He said the bus service also brought economic benefits it brings to pubs, cafes, shops and other businesses in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Mr Grogan said “The service is managed entirely by volunteers and I find it odd that whilst West Yorkshire councils have put their hands in their pockets to help fund these services, this year the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has not.

“They get around £4.5m of national taxpayer’s money and I am sure if there was the will they could find funding of £22,000 annually to match that from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.”