BUS passengers in Claines have been boosted with free travel on the revived 37 route on Saturdays throughout February and extra buses during the week as part of a deal between a local councillor and operator First Bus.
Coun Andy Stafford has reached an agreement with First chiefs to run the service free from this weekend, using funding awarded to him in his role as county councillor for the area.
First Bus withdrew the Saturday 37 service in October last year and blamed falling passenger numbers and increasing operating costs for their decision to wield the axe.
The 37 operates from Worcester city centre along the Ombersley Road to Green Lane in Bevere with a loop through Northwick.
Coun Stafford, who also represents the area on Worcester City Council, stepped in to support the service using his divisional fund and the 37 was back on the road in late November.
In addition to free travel on Saturdays next month, the 37 will have extra services added on Monday to Friday to fill what Coun Stafford said was a ‘big gap’ in the timetable.
Commuters will be able to get on the 37 from Green Lane at 8.10am and 8.55am while services will now leave the city’s bus station at 6.30pm and 7.15pm.
The additional weekday bus services have been fund for at least two years by money from developers behind the new Cherry Orchard homes at Gwillam’s Farm.
Coun Stafford said the area had come a long way since the Autumn when the Saturday service was withdrawn and the whole service was under threat.
“The 37 is a lifeline for residents in Claines, with many dependent upon it,” he said.
“After saving the Saturday service in November last year it was clear more action was needed to encourage people to use the service to help secure its future for the long-term.
“There are five Saturdays this February so there are five great opportunities for those that don’t usually consider using the bus to give it a go for free.
“I hope people will choose to leave their car at home, go green, and make taking the bus a regular habit. This will help secure the long term future of the 37 and people will be supporting their neighbours who need it,” he added.
The Claines councillor said he was delighted with the additional weekday buses on the route and said: “There will now be a full service at times when people need to get to and from the city for work, making the bus a genuine alternative to the car.”