IT WAS "tickets, please" in the Lune Valley villages of Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington this week as a new daytime bus service got up and running.

The new 582 service restores regular public transport to the north Lancashire villages and has been introduced by Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire Ltd.

Buses are running every two hours, Monday to Saturday, between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale via Caton, Brookhouse, Hornby, Gressingham, Arkholme and Whittington. Lancashire County Council is supporting the section between Gressingham and Whittington.

As previously reported by the Gazette, the newly-launched service is just the ticket for the Lune Valley Bus Action Group, led by Duncan Foster and John Keegan. The group led an enthusiastic campaign to bring buses back to the River Lune's "poorly served" west bank.

The new 582 extends the existing commercial service from Kirkby Lonsdale to Skipton. It will also connect with Kirkby Lonsdale Coach Hire's 580 and 581 services offering through links to Ingleton, Settle and Skipton.

The first buses on weekdays will leave Lancaster bus station at 6.45am and 7.45am, and go from Booths supermarket in Kirkby Lonsdale at 7.30am and 10.15am, said a county council spokesman. The last buses will leave Lancaster at 3.45pm, and Kirkby Lonsdale at 8.15pm.

The county council last year agreed to make an extra £1m available to support buses. Cllr Andrew Snowden, lead member for highways and transport, said: "I'm very pleased to be able to restore a regular bus service for these villages.

"When we increased the budget to support buses, all county councillors were invited to shape the improvements by offering their local knowledge about where people will most benefit and where there is unmet demand.

"We've listened to what people have told us about the local need for these buses, and the difference they will make to their lives.

"The new contracts are for three years; I'd ask that everyone support these services to help us sustain them."