THE 192 bus service from Halesowen to Kidderminster has been saved after fears it would be axed by Worcestershire County Council.

However, the 197 bus, used by elderly residents in the villages of Hagley, Clent and Blakedown, will cease running in September.

The 192 will now be re-routed to stop at Churchill and Blakedown once a day to compensate the closure of the 197.

County councillors voted at a cabinet meeting this month to scrap the 197, following a review of subsidised bus routes, in a bid to save £3million.

John Smith, OBE, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways said: "The 197 is being withdrawn and partly replaced by the 192 and Whittles have agreed, due in part to the interest that has been shown by both the Blakedown and Churchill communities, to divert one journey per day to serve Blakedown and Churchill.

"With this in mind, the Lickhill Road and Windemere Road route in Stourport has been pulled. However, the 192 on all other journeys will continue to provide a regular service to Lickhill and Windemere.

"Passengers looking to use local community transport will need to pre-book and a fare will be applicable."

Whittle Coach and Bus company has this week confirmed it plans to re-route the 192 from September 1 to cover part of the 197 service.

The 10.10am from Halesowen to Kidderminster service will run Monday to Saturday via Churchill and Blakedown Railway Station - with the return service leaving Stourport at 1.12pm.

Whittle’s general manager David Shipp said: "Whittles have offered to do this in the interest of the Blakedown and Churchill Community who contacted us to see if we could help.

"In order to achieve this we have had to pull out of Lickhill Road and Windemere Road in Stourport on these two journeys. The 192 on all other journeys will continue to provide a regular service to Lickhill/Windemere.""""