A NEW bus service designed to help local people get to and from supermarkets and central shopping areas is set to launch in Weston in the New Year.

The number 9 service will operate three times a day from Monday to Friday between West Wick and the bus interchange at Alexandra Parade.

Passengers will be able to travel to Worle retail park, Worle Lidl, Queensway, Lower Kewstoke Road, Church Road, Worlebury, Ashbury Drive, Baytree Road, Aisecome Way retail park, Winterstoke Road retail parks and the town centre.

The service will start on Tuesday, January 2 and will be available from 10.20am until 3pm.

Travel card holders will be able to travel for free. It will cost up to £2 each way for other passengers.

Everyone can travel for free during their birthday month if they sign up to the Birthday Bus Scheme.

Speaking previously about the birthday initiative, the leader of North Somerset Council, Mike Bell, said: “The Birthday Bus offer is a great initiative where all residents in North Somerset and the West of England area can receive free bus travel during the entire month of their birthday.

"It’s a great way to explore your local area and beyond, save valuable pennies in these cost of living times and bus travel is also better for the environment than using a car."

Cllr Hannah Young, executive member for highways and transport at North Somerset Council, said: “Since the withdrawal of the number 50 service at the end of August we’ve been working hard to find a solution for people in Worlebury, so I’m really pleased that we’re able to use some of our Bus Service Improvement Plan funding to give our residents back a bus.

“This new route serves eight supermarkets, all the retail parks and the town centre giving people access to a wide choice of shopping options.

“As with all subsidised services though, the message is use it or lose it, as we have no certainty of future funding for this route. Given the strength of local feeling when the service was withdrawn we are hopeful that it will be popular so it can be viable commercially in the future.”

The new service will be operated by First West of England. Later this month, the timetable and route map will be made available on the company's website.