A BUS service which was saved by a community group has seen passenger numbers increase since it was taken over.

Funding for the 42 route, which serves Cawood, Wistow, Kelfield, Stillingfleet and Naburn, was withdrawn by North Yorkshire County Council almost three years ago.

Selby District Councillor John Cattanach led the campaign, with help from the community, parish councils, the Eastern Community Engagement Forum and Naburn Lock Caravan Park, and thanked Arriva for working with campaigners to keep the service going.

He said: “I am delighted that our campaign to keep our services running has been vindicated. This shows that a community partnership of local councils and businesses can win through.

"Arriva buses have backed us throughout. The passenger numbers for the December to March quarter are very encouraging and I would hope that in 2015 Arriva might agree to bring this into their commercial operation.”

Campaigners negotiated with Arriva Yorkshire to keep the Friday and Saturday services, but after a year the Friday runs were dropped in place of Sundays and bank holidays.

This week, Arriva said passenger numbers had improved on the service to the point where the company could provide a summer service, Saturday nights and bank holidays as commercial routes.

Nigel Featham, managing director for Arriva Yorkshire, said: “We are really happy to be able to operate a commercial service on both Saturday nights and bank holidays on the 42 service over the coming summer months.

“The work John and the local community have done to help increase passengers numbers is great. Historical data shows us that more people use this service in the warmer summer months and we look forward to helping local people get to where they need to be by bus.”

Coun Cattanach said the news meant subsidies would only be needed in 2015 for the winter, and said this service and Sundays could also prove commercial.

He said: “We have shown North Yorkshire County Council that there are routes and services in the county that can be saved. We still need more people to back the service by actually using it.

“We have to make sure these additional services are provided for all 12 months of the year, thereby providing a continuity of service and giving a confidence to the users that the service will be there, come rain or shine.”