TWO working mothers have spoken of their shock at the removal of a "lifeline" school bus service.

Jenna Midgley, 34, of Bolling Road, Ben Rhydding, faces losing her job and her home if her young daughters no longer have access to a dedicated school bus.

The single mother received a letter from West Yorkshire Combined Authority on Monday informing her the P99 Mybus primary school service no longer meets the authority's value for money criteria and will be withdrawn on September 1.

The authority blames a reduction in funding for subsidised bus services and declining numbers using the bus, which serves Ben Rhydding Primary School, Sacred Heart RC School, Ashlands Primary School and All Saints CE Primary School. Parents and carers of the 47 registered users of the bus now face finding alternative methods of getting their children to school.

Jenna's daughters, five-year-old Denver and six-year-old Darienne, have used the bus to get to Ashlands Primary School in Leeds Road, since moving to Ben Rhydding from Pontefract in August last year. Jenna, who doesn't drive, moved to the area to take up a job at Unique Hair Studio in Bolling Road, where she is an apprentice. Unable to secure places for both girls at Ben Rhydding Primary School, she accepted places for them at Ashlands because of the bus, which she pays £12 a week in fares for. If it is withdrawn Jenna would have to walk her daughters 30 minutes to school, impacting on her employment as she wouldn't be able to commit to the 30 hours a week she needs to complete her training.

She said: "It is a bit of a shock. I have been saying how amazing this bus service is since I moved here. It has been a lifeline because I could not get Darienne and Denver into the local school.

"Now they are taking it away it is like a kick in the teeth. I am trying to provide a better life for my children and this is so sad. If the bus is taken away I face losing everything. If I can't work, I can't pay the rent and I will lose my home. It is a domino effect."

Jenna has vowed to fight to save the bus service and is calling on others to support her. "I am hoping to appeal to people's kinder nature and think that if we make enough fuss about it they may change their minds about this very poor decision," she said. "I would rather they put up fares than just withdraw it. A lot of revenue is generated in Ilkley for public services and I am sure this is exactly the sort of thing people would want their taxes to pay for."

Nicky Cusker, of Ilkley, works at Airedale Hospital and has two children attending Ashlands Primary School. She was also shocked to receive the letter.

She said: "I work for the NHS on a small salary and the bus service removes the need to use breakfast and after school clubs which would cost me £25 a day versus £2.80 to use the bus. If this service is cancelled it will no longer be viable to work as my costs would out weigh my income. The letter we received states it costs tax payers money but if I can't work then I won't be able to be a tax payer which doesn't make any sense.

"I think the removal of this service will also increase the traffic around the schools which can only be a negative thing. I would be happy with an increase in costs and hoping they seriously reconsider this. The alternatives of using public bus routes such as the X84 will not work as the bus doesn't go anywhere near Ashlands and I have a six and eight year old and most definitely wouldn't put them on a normal public bus. I feel very confident with the current bus service as Mandy and Mike that run it are amazing with the children."

Andrew Soutar, headteacher at Ashlands Primary School, has emailed the bus company to express his concern about the proposed withdrawal of the school bus saying it is an essential service.

Speaking to the Gazette he said: "We have suffered many reductions in services through the period of austerity, but getting children to school each day seems to me to be a fundamental Human Right. Surely, we should help working families in every way that we can? How much money is actually going to be saved through the removal of this service?"

The P99 bus service had 89 registered passengers, with an average of 33 regular users in 2016/17. In 2018/19 to date there are 47 registered passengers, with 22 regular users.

A West Yorkshire Combined Authority spokesperson said: “As the letter states, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which organises and pays for daily bus travel to and from school for around 25,000 West Yorkshire pupils and students, is reviewing services to ensure that they are providing value for money for local tax payers.

“With the number of regular users for service P99 having reduced to an average of just 22, unfortunately the Combined Authority can no longer justify using use public funding to support the service and is planning to withdraw it.

“People affected have been asked to send in comments on the proposed withdrawal and any received will be considered before a final decision is taken.”

Parents and other interested parties have until March 15 to comment on the proposed withdrawal by emailing: