A KEIGHLEY bus company has come to the rescue of Silsden schoolchildren stranded by council spending cuts.

Transdev is diverting one of its buses every day to pick up Silsden students travelling to schools in Skipton.

The bus – which does not rely on taxpayer subsidy – was made possible after a campaign by parents in the town.

The new service – which began picking up youngsters last week – has been welcomed by Silsden mother Rebecca Whitaker.

She approached Transdev after discovering last spring that her daughter, 16-year old Charlotte Millington, would have no transport to school when the new term began.

Mrs Whitaker said: “Parents didn’t want their children crossing the bypass. That was always our biggest concern.”

The morning and afternoon school bus – service 957C – was one of many subsidised in the past by North Yorkshire County Council.

The local authority announced it would cut subsidies to children who paid for bus travel, as part of its £2 million budget saving on spending.

The changes would have forced Silsden children to catch two buses, cross the busy Aire Valley trunk road to reach service buses travelling through Steeton towards Skipton, or walk to the Silsden/Steeton railway station.

Mrs Whitaker led the Silsden parents group that objected to the bus service cancellation, with support from Silsden town councillors.

She said: “They’ve increased the bus fares by about 70p, but we thought that was fine because otherwise the children would have to catch a bus to the railway station.

“There are a lot of children who go to Skipton schools and quite a lot are getting on this bus.

“If the school bus proves popular, we might be able to get a direct bus service to Skipton for everyone.

“It seems silly that we’re well served with buses to Keighley and Ilkley, but don’t have a bus service to one of our local towns.”

A Transdev spokesman that from the start of the new academic year it had been able to replace North Yorkshire County Council’s School Bus 957C.

He said: “We have diverted one of our own school buses, the 966, to serve the areas left without a bus to and from Skipton schools.

“As the 966 is run by us without any subsidy to the taxpayer the fares are slightly higher than before, but we hope that pupils find the 966 useful and use the service to ensure that it keeps running.”