THE future of Worcester's buses appears more certain after one of the county's major operators confirmed it wasn't currently looking to sell its UK division.

Last May First Group issued a statement saying it would be "pursuing strategic options, through a sale or other means" to offload the bus part of its business.

We also reported on rumours that talks had been held between the firm and National Express - although both parties remained tight lipped whether talks had been held.

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At the time First, which along with Diamond is the biggest bus operator in Worcestershire, said it would continue to run services "as usual" and staff would be kept up to date.

This paper approached First Worcestershire after hearing there had been a U-turn on the plans, and in a new statement Nigel Eggleton, managing director at First Worcester, said they were now not currently in a sale process.

Mr Eggleton said: "Our bus companies are attractive businesses and we are confident that greater value can be created from more efficient operations.

"We are delivering on plans that will improve operational performance in First Bus and the results of this will be visible in the coming months, and beyond.

"Therefore, we intend to deliver these improvements before launching any sale process.

"In the meantime, we will continue to provide a comprehensive network of services across Worcester and the shire, linking communities and working with Worcestershire County Council and their officers on priority measures to improve access for buses and reduce the problem of congestion across the city."

First Bus employs around 17,500 staff, including 13,450 drivers.