AN under-threat bus route in Southampton has been saved.

The X11 bus service which links the city centre, Shirley and Lordshill will continue to run until the end of December, it has been confirmed.

The news comes as operator Xela Bus  was awarded a three-year contract to operate the subsidised service until the end of December 2020 but it had subsequently raised concerns over its viability.

Now Southampton City Council said an agreements has been secured to ensure X11 buses will continue to run until the end of the contract.

The council said the service provision has been reviewed and the final decision is  “in recognition of its social importance in connecting local residents to key parts of the city, which includes the hospital and city centre”.

The authority described the X11 bus service as “an important route” that is subsidised by  the city council.

“This service connects residential areas of the city not covered by routes operated commercially by the local bus operators,” it added. 

Gareth Blair, managing director of Xelabus, welcomed the news and said: “We are delighted that we will be continuing this service and we are very grateful to all our passengers for their ongoing support.”

Cllr Jacqui Rayment, cabinet member for transport and place at Southampton City Council, added: “I would like to thank local ward councillors for highlighting this issue and raising the concerns of their residents that use this service. We have been in close discussion with Xela Bus and I am pleased to confirm that the X11 service will continue to serve residents.”