A BUS boost got underway at the weekend as bus operator The Keighley Bus Company started to run more buses, more often, on two key routes from Skipton.

The bus firm is working in partnership with North Yorkshire Council to deliver the improvements on its route 64 linking Ilkley, Addingham and Draughton with Skipton, and also on route 72 between Skipton, Cracoe, Threshfield and Grassington.

It is hoped that the enhanced timetables will encourage more people to leave the car at home and take the bus for shopping and leisure trips to Skipton and Ilkley.

The boosted service to and from Grassington is expected to prove popular with walkers and sightseers visiting the Dales town, better known to millions as Darrowby in Channel 5's 'All Creatures Great And Small' series based on the books of vet turned author James Herriot.

The Keighley Bus Company's General Manager Jim Craven said: "With the success of the Government-supported £2 fare cap and our own award-winning campaign to encourage concessionary pass holders to get out and about by bus, we've been able to work in partnership with North Yorkshire Council to increase the frequency of routes 64 and 72.

"The 64 currently runs roughly every two hours between Ilkley and Skipton, while the new timetable will see a bus every hour to provide a more frequent service and regular departure times, making it easier for everyone to use and enjoy.

"On the 72, our timetable will be back up to what it was at the beginning of 2023, again with a bus every hour across the day while easy connections will continue to be available at Grassington National Park Centre with buses serving Kilnsey, Kettlewell and Buckden in Upper Wharfedale.

"We're sure the increased services will be welcome news for our customers and for the local economy in Ilkley, Skipton, Grassington and the villages."

Many people were inconvenienced when the bus services from Skipton to Ilkley and from Skipton to Grassington were reduced in May last year; resulting in complaints. A meeting of the Skipton and Ripon committee of North Yorkshire Council in December heard how more than 150 people had signed a petition in response to cuts in the 72 service which was described as a 'lifeline'.

Full details of the new timetables on routes 64 and 72 will be available online at transdevbus.co.uk/the-keighley-bus-company and from visitor information centres at the Town Halls in Ilkley and Skipton, and the National Park Centre in Grassington.