EXTRA bus services have been pledged by an East Lancashire bus operator as a rival is to withdraw a well-known service through Burnley and Pendle.

Skipton-based Pennine Motors will no longer trade as a bus company from Friday, blaming increased competition and the reduction of county council free travel payments.

This will mean the loss of the 215 service, which runs between Burnley and Skipton through Nelson, Colne and West Craven.

But competitor Transdev, which runs the number 28 and 29 Mainline services along the same route, has already pledged to increase the number of buses it operates from next Monday.

Richard Jackson, Transdev’s development director, said “We are greatly saddened to hear of the possible demise of such an established company.

“Unfortunately it seems the cuts that are being imposed across all public transport operators have had a dramatic effect on Pennine Motor service.

“We are however pleased to be able to offer an improved service, which should minimise the impact on the local community and bus users”

The company has announced that up to four buses an hour will connect Burnley and Pendle with West Craven and Skipton. And many of the journeys will additionally call at Craven College, attended by a number of West Craven students, providing a half-hourly link to Skipton town centre.

A Pennine Motors spokesman said that the decision to close the 88-year-old company had been taken ‘with regret’. But the 20 per cent reduction in North Yorkshire County Council fees and rival buses had left the outfit ‘no longer financially viable’, he added.