YOUTH groups are to help set up a replacement for the York free bus travel trial which flopped in the first two months of this year.

The city council scheme was supposed to encourage under 18s on to public transport by offering them free weekend bus travel, but resulted in disappointingly low use.

Figures from the council and bus companies showed that so few people used the free travel in January and February that only £28,000 was spent out of the £100,000 set aside for the purpose.

On Thursday the councillor responsible, Ian Gillies, decided not to extend the trial and he will instead turn to the Youth Council and other groups to come up with a more successful alternative.

He said: "I have met with the Youth Council and, with seven other youth groups they are prepared to join together to prepare something 'fit for purpose', if we are to implement a scheme in the future."

Labour councillor David Levene had asked that the programme be given more time to succeed.

He said: "This was only given a month, and with the floods it was only two weeks.

"It wasn't given the advertising it should have had. It wasn't given enough time to bed in."

The idea was a "worthy initiative", Cllr Levene added, which should in the long term help bring down congestion.

Cllr Gillies decided to scrap the trial at the end of February and give the youth groups around £500 to come up with proposals for a more successful replacement.

The trial was originally launched for January and February, with £100,000 earmarked to fund it, but a report by council sustainable transport manager Andrew Bradley showed that just £28,000 was expected to have been spent by the end of the trial.

In the first weekend of January bus use by young people was actually less than half what it had been in the same weekend last year. Although floods clean-up and bad weather would have had an impact, the data the second and third weekends of January suggested that the free travel offer did not increase the number of children and young people travelling by bus.