RESIDENTS living on the border of Cumbria and North Yorkshire have been told to ‘use or lose’ their new bus service.

The warning comes after the Craven Connection service was launched, between Skipton and Kirkby Lonsdale, three months after the collapse of the long-standing Pennine bus company.

County councillor Richard Welch, who was on the first bus to leave Skipton Bus Station, said it was a fantastic result.

"Everyone rallied round but we now need to maintain the service,” he said.

“It is a case of 'use it, or lose it’."

The new commercially-run bus service was launched last week, run by Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire, linking Skipton, Settle, Ingleton and Kirkby Lonsdale.

It will run six days a week and follows an agreement with North Yorkshire County Council.

The service will run for a year to see whether it can generate enough revenue to make it viable.

Colin Speakman, a member of DalesBus organisation, which has been pressing for the new enterprise, said because the service had to survive on a commercial basis, it had been suggested that senior pass holders might consider 'keeping their passes in their pockets' for one journey in four.

It is estimated that between 250 and 300 passenger journeys were made on Monday.

Mr Speakman added: "This all augurs well for the future and congratulations go to everyone who made this possible, but specially to KLCH team who have put their jobs and company on the line in terms of making this a success, but above all to the people of North Craven who have already taken this bus service to their hearts.

"It is the people's bus!"

However, he warned: "We must keep up the momentum and ensure that Monday was not a flash in the pan and numbers continue to grow even on the wet days of autumn and winter."