Ministers have agreed to throw a lifeline to local bus services which could have been decimated from October.

The Government had said the Bus Recovery Grant, which has funded bus services as they recover from the pandemic, was to end in October.

However, after pressure from Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin and other Northern mayors, ministers have extended the grant by another six months to March 2023.

Ms Brabin said operators in West Yorkshire had told her that without the grant 26 services would be withdrawn and around 100 services would see reductions, around one-sixth of West Yorkshire’s bus network.

Ms Brabin has been clear with operators that they must not continue with any planned cuts to services following this commitment of an extra six months of funding.

The mayor said: “We’ve been clear that Government inaction would have decimated vital bus services and pushed people onto more expensive forms of transport, such as taxis, during the cost-of-living crisis – a time they can afford it least.

“This shows how mayors can be powerful voices to advocate for their region – and I’m delighted that my colleagues across the North joined my push for action. We can be stronger together than the sum of our parts.

“Now I am cracking on with rolling out cheaper bus fares across the region next month, including a £2 cap on journeys – to help ease the burden on household budgets.”

Bus operators have to give almost two months’ notice of service changes, which offers passengers confidence in the network, but it means that changes to services in October would need to be publicised now.

Without the Bus Recovery Grant, many areas would have lost services after 7pm and some would have seen services withdrawn completely, in both urban and rural areas.