BUS passengers have been spared a wave of threatened cuts.

Travel giant Stagecoach has said it will continue running all its services going for as long as possible even after the council cuts its subsidies.

As reported in the Adver in April, about a dozen services were put in jeopardy after the council withdrew funding for the routes. The £100,000 worth of subsidies ended on Saturday, June 4.

But now Stagecoach has said it continuing to operate them on a commercial basis.

Ian Manning, the managing director of Stagecoach West, said: “After spending 20 years developing these tendered service routes we could not let them fall by the wayside due to Government spending cuts.

“While we understand the council’s dilemma in deciding which frontline services will be cut following the spending review, we are very disappointed that after consistent reductions in its public transport budget over the past eight years, these savings could not be made elsewhere.

“What we hoped would happen was that reducing the call on the public purse over a period time as usage built up would lead to the council subsidy being transferred to support the re-introduction of services on Sunday evenings, which is now unlikely to happen.”

But although there are no changes for the time being, he also sounded a note of caution about the long-term future of the routes.

“Stagecoach will try and keep these evening and Sunday routes going for as long as possible, but the bus industry is facing its own significant hike in fuel duty next April as part of Government spending cuts and that will place operators under even more pressure,” he said.

The services which were due to be affected were the Sunday services numbers 6, 7, 11A, 19, 49, 55A and 71.

Evening journeys on two Stagecoach services, Service 6 to Kingsdown and Service 72 to Wroughton, were also due to be cut.

But the picture is not so rosy for council-owned rival Thamesdown, which also saw some of its subsidies cut.

Although the council re-instated the financial support for one of the firm’s hospital routes, the number 24, others have been forced into reductions.

The number 11 between Haydon Wick and East Wichel now ends at about 8pm (extended from an original estimate of a 7pm finish), and the number 19 between Haydon Wick, Sparcells and Fleming Way now ends at 6.50pm from Fleming Way, and 6.15pm from Sparcells (or 6.09pm on Saturdays).

And as of yesterday, the number 27 is operating at reduced frequency. The number 22 is also operating a new timetable.

Managing director Paul Jenkins said: “We’ve no further plans to make changes to commercial services. If anything, we want to make more effort now to encourage more people to use the current network.

“Passenger numbers were affected by the recession, but they’re starting to recover. We hope we won’t need to make further changes for some time.”