THIRTY US-style yellow school buses will be hitting West Yorkshire streets by next year.

They will be the first of 150 being brought to the region over the next three years.

The West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority has secured £18.7m from the Government for the buses, which are said to be safer as they have seatbelts and children receive safety training on board.

The driver has a register of children allowed to use the bus, which cuts the risk of `stranger danger' and also makes sure there are enough seats for passengers.

The buses will also be used by schools for educational trips.

When schools are not using the buses, community groups will be able to use them.

It is not known exactly how many yellow buses will come to Kirklees.

Children at schools in Rawthorpe already use similar buses, with daily runs from Leeds Road.

Yellow buses will be run by individual operators, such as First. But the scheme will be co-ordinated by Metro, which manages public transport in West Yorkshire.

It is the umbrella body for the passenger transport authority and the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

Metro brought yellow bus trial schemes to this area last year - at St Joseph's RC Primary School in Brighouse, Rawthorpe Infant and Nursery and Rawthorpe Junior schools and Colne Valley High School.

Colne Valley West Clr David Ridgway, who sits on the transport authority, said the yellow bus scheme had been a major success.

He added: "It encourages people to use the bus rather than cars. It is a benefit to the public, because the more students who use the bus the fewer traffic jams outside schools.

"It also gives children the chance to find out about public transport, rather than depending on cars."

Consultations will start soon to find out which schools want to take part in the yellow bus scheme.

A survey of pupils and parents will then see if there is enough demand for a bus.

Clr Ridgway said Kirklees's yellow buses would be contracted directly to the schools, unlike in other areas of West Yorkshire, where buses will be contracted to Metro for all the schools in a particular area.

He said he thought Kirklees' approach could lead to a lack of organisation. He added: "The degree of control and organisation is splintered in Kirklees. In areas like Leeds and Bradford it makes for a better system."