COUNCILLORS say progress has been made with expanding some bus services connecting East Lancs with North Yorkshire after talks with a transport company.

Passengers travelling between Burnley, Colne and West Craven and Skipton have faced being stranded at bus stops because there was not enough space on buses, say Pendle councillors.

But councillors had talks with bus firm Transdev and larger double-deckers are being introduced on some routes. Passenger numbers in West Craven area also appear to be rising.

Talks focused on the M5 and M6 Transdev Mainline routes. But councillors have ambitions for their Witch Way and Wizz services.

Lib Dem Cllr David Whipp, West Craven area committee chairman and deputy borough leader , said: “Over the past couple of years, we have contacted Transdev on a number of occasions about inadequate bus services.

"Buses were full to capacity and passengers were left standing on the roadside, unable to get to school, college or work."

Talks were held by Cllr Whipp and Cllr Susan Land, Pendle Council officers and Paul Turner, commercial director at Transdev, who acknowledged morning bus capacity problems.

Cllr Whipp said they have now put on extra journeys and more double-decker buses.

He added: "There has been an increase in passengers, with a more than 12 per cent increase on the Skipton route and other increases for Earby and Barnoldswick.

"Overall, I think it’s a 6.3 per cent increase in passengers for the West Craven area.  More children are travelling to schools in Skipton and Colne by bus, and also into West Craven.”

New evening services had started, or will start, councillors heard, and changes were also being made for neighbouring Ribble Valley services.

Updated bus passenger figures in March 2024 will give a better understanding of how things are going, March is a key month for surveys because there are no long holidays which interrupt regular travel.

Cllr Whipp added: “After months, if not years, of frustration we were quite pleased at the positivity shown by Transdev. We didn’t get any improvements to services running past Burnley College or regarding cuts to some express services. Transdev said that was not feasible at the moment.”

The Witch Way express used to connect Skipton to Pendle and Manchester. But the Skipton section was ended and the X43 now only runs from Nelson, Burnley and Rawtenstall to Manchester. Elsewhere, there is a Stagecoach service between Preston and Skipton.