Residents of villages in the Bourne area who feared they would lose a vital bus service have been thrown a lifeline.
The Kimes Buses 32 and 36 services, run by Centrebus, ceased operating yesterday (Monday).
Villagers relied on the services to go shopping at markets in Bourne and Boston.
However, Lincolnshire County Council has been able to strike deals with two other bus companies – the Sleafordian and Delaine – to keep the services going.
Centrebus commercial director Dave Shelley said: “Centrebus has withdrawn services 32 and 36 from February because they are no longer viable given the level of patronage.
“Costs in the bus industry have risen significantly, and the fuel rebate we receive from government was cut in 2012, but unfortunately revenue has not increased in line with these costs.”
The 32 service ran every Thursday between Folkingham and Bourne, calling at Pointon, Aslackby, Dowsby, Dunsby, Kirkby Underwood, Stainfield, Haconby, Hanthorpe, Morton and Dyke.
The 36 ran every Wednesday from Billingborough to Boston.
Anita Ruffle, transport manager south at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We are pleased to announce that Lincolnshire County Council has been able to provide extra funding to keep the number 36 service in running. A new operator, Sleafordian, will take over from Wednesday. Passengers should see no disruption in service.
“With regards to the number 32 service, we have been able to extend an existing service, the Delaine 301, to incorporate Billingborough, Pointon and Dowsby. This will continue to run every Thursday.”
An extra stop has also been added to the 36 service from Billingborough to Boston. Sleafordian depot manager Keith Taylor said: “As a guesture of goodwill we are putting on a large coach after we saw 44 people got off the 36.
“We have also added an extra stop at Boots so the elderly are closer to town.
“As a company, maintaining services in the villages is important to us and we are doing eveything we can to promote our other services such as holidays so we can do this.”
Jo Withnall, clerk to Folkingham Parish Council, said: “It’s excellent news, especially for our elderly residents. They will be delighted.”
Any villages not served by these routes can use the CallConnect service. For more information, call 0845 2343344.