BUS services linking Upton and rural villages to Worcester look set to be reprieved after a senior councillor intervened.

Coun Tom Wells, who represents Powick on Worcestershire and Malvern Hills councils, met First Bus managing director Nigel Eggleton yesterday (Friday) to talk about the proposed cuts, which would have left many residents without transport.

Following the meeting, Cllr Wells revealed he had been able to negotiate "significant improvements" to proposed cuts to the 363 Upton to Worcester, which visits Welland, Hanley Swan and Callow End.

He said: "Let’s be really honest from the outset. The new timetable will not provide the hourly service of the past.

"The simple truth is that some buses during the middle part of the day carried very few passengers.

"The new timetable will, instead, focus on transporting passengers at crucial times of the day.

"That means getting our young people to school and college, getting workers to work on time and getting them home in the evening, and it means allowing folk to go shopping, attend appointments or simply visit friends.

"The improvements will provide those who work in Worcester with an additional bus at 5.45pm to get them home.

"Furthermore, shoppers and those with health appointments will not have to wait four hours for a return service, with additional morning services in and out of Worcester.

"In total, each day there will be five buses into Worcester and six buses out. That has got to be a massive improvement on what was originally proposed by the bus company and has been achieved by providing the company with a very modest subsidy.

"Well done to all those people who supported this very important grass roots campaign. I am told the council was inundated with emails from concerned local residents. That helped a great deal.

"I am also extremely grateful to my fellow councillor Paul Middlebrough, who represents Upton. Paul contributed to the funding from his Divisional Fund.

"But now it is essential that we do all we can to build passenger numbers to secure its long-term survival. I am arranging for the printing of a very simple bus timetable for every household on the route. I will be asking for some volunteers to help me do that."