Bus services that were due to be cut are being saved in Somerset in a decision welcomed by local MP James Heappey this week.
First West of England announced it was stopping the 126 service from Wells to Weston-super-Mare and evening services on weekdays on the D2 between Bath and Frome from next month.
Now Somerset County Council has announced it will fund the services, which will be provided by a new operator, Libra Travel.
Both services are a “lifeline” for local communities, the council said. The services were being discontinued due to low passenger numbers.
From 10 October Libra Travel will provide the Somerset County Council leg of the 126 service between Wells and Axbridge and also serving the Blue School at Wells during term time.
Somerset County Council is also funding evening weekday D2 journeys at 20.10 BST and 22.10 BST from Frome to Bath and 21.10 BST and 23.10 BST from Bath to Frome. First West of England is continuing to provide daytime, Saturday evening and Sunday journeys on the D2.
Both services are said to be a lifeline for local communities, with the 126 connecting Wells to Cheddar, Axbridge and other outlying villages.
Somerset County Council’s lead member for Transport and Digital, Councillor Mike Rigby, said the authority is “delighted” to keep the “important” bus routes running.
“We’ll continue to do all we can but we can’t stress enough that people need to support their services to ensure they are maintained,” he said.
Local MP James Heappey, who campaigned to save the service, has welcomed the news: “This is a great victory for residents along the Cheddar Valley. I’m hugely grateful to everyone who signed my petition and utterly delighted that the route has been saved.”
Mr Rigby cautioned that government funding runs out in March and “many” services “will be under threat” so they need people to use them.