The Walk and Ride bus service around Lincoln city centre, which was earmarked for closure to save funds, has been saved by Lincoln BIG and PC Coaches, who are taking over the service from the City of Lincoln Council.
The council will donate the current Walk and Ride buses to Lincoln BIG, and Lincolnshire County Council will continue to support the service too with a £10,000 grant (£5,000 less than previously).
The Walk and Ride bus service has taken residents and visitors around the city centre and uphill Lincoln since June 2001.
The service was put out to tender, but no formal bids were received, which left the council debating implications of closure or finding alternate funding.
But Lincoln BIG and PC Coaches offered to take over the service until 2015, and the City Council approved the move at an Executive meeting on Tuesday, August 27.
Last year the service carried over 74,000 passenger journeys, but in previous years more people used the service: 95,000 in 2008/09 and 104,000 in 2006/07.
Michael Armstrong, Lincoln BIG Events and Promotions Manager, said: “This is great news. There’s a lot of work required now alongside PC Coaches to make everything happen.
“We have taken up the funding for the service for two years and we’ll review again after that.
“We’re looking at rebranding the service and maximising the use as much as possible, both from residents and tourists. It will be a marketing exercise to get more people on the bus.
“We already know it’s a good service, so we’re now looking at maintaining that.”
City of Lincoln Council Leader Ric Metcalfe said: “This is a great service and we are delighted that Lincoln BIG, the County Council and bus operator PC Coaches are collaborating to keep it going.
“It is a really valued service by local people who I am sure will welcome this excellent news,” he added.