The 877/878 Stafford to Wolverhampton via Brewood service launches has launched, connecting villages including Coven, Bishops Wood, Wheaton Aston, Lapley, Penkridge, Acton Trussell, Derrington, Church Eaton and Bradley.
It will now run on Saturdays for the first time in years and connect to Walton High School in Stafford, allowing more people from isolated areas to access a key transport link.
It also stops at the King Edward VI school in Stafford and can be used by pupils entitled to free Home to School transport as well as those not entitled to free transport.
Councillor David Williams, Staffordshire County Council’s transport boss, said: “By re-tendering the route to include Walton High, we’ve created enough extra demand for the operator to increase the frequency of their Monday to Friday schedule and add a service on Saturdays for the first time in years.
“And as this is a commercial service, pupils not entitled to free Home to School transport, such as post-16s, can use it too.”
The intervention will help pupils in Great Haywood and Colwich as scheduled changes to another, separate route by its operator would have left pupils in those villages without a connection to Walton High in September.
Councillor Williams added: “Rather than relying on dedicated school buses, wherever possible we look to configure routes so that children entitled to free Home to School Transport use local bus services which supports the operator and underpins demand for everyone else to use too.
“It’s not always possible, but it allows us to support local services sustainably.”
The service continues through to Wolverhampton, improving connections for residents in both directions.
Ben Brown, managing director of Select Bus Services, said: “We are very pleased to have retained the tender for the 877/878 service which we have operated for a number of years.
“Working closely with Staffordshire County Council has enabled us to provide an enhanced service which gives excellent, more frequent links for the local community.”
Detailed information about the timetable can be found at selectbusservices.com or www.travelinemidlands.co.uk.