A "VITAL" bus service will resume next week after a new operator was found.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has announced the 966 Guiseley - Yeadon Circular will be restored from Monday, March 6.

It will be a reduced service however, operating a weekday only, off-peak service, starting at 9.17am from Yeadon Town Hall, with the last bus at 2.02pm from Guiseley Morrisons.

The service was withdrawn last month when no one came forward to run it when the service was put up for tender by WYCA.

Local councillors have welcomed the news and are urging residents to use the service to ensure its longevity.

Councillor Paul Wadsworth (Con, Guiseley and Rawdon) said: “I have always said the 966 service is a vital link, providing connections in the ward and to the wider area of North West Leeds. I called on the Combined Authority previously for urgent action on this, not to leave our residents stranded.

“I would have liked to have seen a full continuation of the service, but I understand a partial service is better than no service at all. I would urge residents to use the new timetable as much as possible, to remove any suggestion that it is not popular and could therefore be taken away again.”

Councillor Paul Alderson (Con, Guiseley and Rawdon) said: “This service should never have been removed in the first place. Guiseley is far from the city centre of Leeds, and residents do not have the plethora of alternative public transport options available when one is removed.

“From a climate perspective, if we want people to use public transport, then there must be credible and viable alternatives for people to use. A reliable, but less frequent service is of more use to passengers than one that promises plenty but fails to deliver. I would want the new provider to review the service as soon as practically possible to see if there is any opportunity to increase the service.”

Councillor Eleanor Thomson (Labour, Guiseley and Rawdon) said: "It is a really important route around Guiseley and Yeadon, provided and funded through the Combined Authority, reaching places and people that commercial bus services miss. This will be a weekday service for the time being, but subject to review later in the year. It may not be all we hoped for but it's a huge relief after the worry of having no bus service for a couple of weeks.

"It's a shame that the Department for Transport announced funding so late in the day again; had they done so earlier we could have been spared this horrible uncertainty. However, it’s good to have some progress on this. I’m thankful to everyone who has helped to make it possible. There has been some very quick work from officers at the Combined Authority which is much appreciated."

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesperson for Leeds North West, Cllr Sandy Lay said: "Central government funding cuts and operator shortages created this problem but following representations I'm clearly pleased that West Yorkshire Combined Authority have worked with the Squarepeg bus company and partially reinstated this locally important bus service.

"I'd been contacted by numerous passengers concerned that the withdrawal would affect their physical and mental health, their ability to attend work and, for the elderly and infirm in particular, increase their isolation and loneliness and some service is better than none. Let's hope in future that a full service will be reinstated."