First Bus will continue running a reduced X5 bus service until April 2023, after the Weston to Bristol service was due to be axed.

The bus provider and North Somerset Council reached an agreement last night (August 17) to keep the route, which runs between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol, serving Clevedon and Portishead.

From October 10, the X5 will run every hour between Worle and Portishead High Street between 6.30am and 6.30pm.

From Portishead, the service will run every hour between 7.15am and 7.15pm.

However, no agreementwas found to save the X2 (Yatton to Bristol) and the 126 (Weston-super-Mare to Wells, serving Locking, Banwell, Sandford and Winscombe) services.

Councillor Steve Bridger, Leader of North Somerset Council, said: “Buses play a vital role in serving the communities of North Somerset.

"Without the council stepping in, the loss of the X5 would have cut off residents from accessing vital links to schools, colleges, employment, hospitals and shops. Buses are also key to our response to the climate emergency.

“While I am relieved that we’ve been able to come up with a solution for the X5 to continue until April, albeit on a reduced service, I’m deeply concerned that we haven’t been able to find solutions for the X2 and 126."

Despite thousands signing petitions, and support from councillors and MP John Penrose, the X2 and 126 are expected to be cut in October.

First Bus cites a national driver shortage as the chief reason for pulling the services - a lack of passengers post-Covid Pandemic and the withdrawal of Government funding can also be attributed.

Cllr Bridger added: “Without further action from central government the situation is only going to get worse.

"Driver shortages are at the heart of this issue, and we need to work together to find a solution.

"We are in discussions with local training providers to devise campaigns to increase the number of bus drivers.

"I encourage anyone who is considering this as a career to step forward and contact their local college."

North Somerset Council is currently in talks with the Department for Transport to agree on temporary flexibility in funding to enable it to award First Bus £52,550.

This is equal to a quarter of the overall running costs, the amount needed to operate a reduced X5 service between October 2022 and April 2023.

Passengers wishing to travel onward into Weston centre will need to change buses at Worle using one of four services (X1 / 3 / 7 / 50).

A connection to Bristol can be made using the X4 service, and to Nailsea using one of two services (57 / 59).