A COUNTY councillor has described the news that one of Somerset's main bus companies has ceased operating, as "devastating."

It was announced late yesterday afternoon that WebberBus, based in Bridgwater and who provide a number of routes around the county, had folded.

Somerset County Council has stepped in to try and cover the routes, and parents are being assured that school routes will still be running today.

Labour county councillor for Bridgwater South, Leigh Redman said the news was "devastating."

He added: “Devastating news that Bridgwater Bus company Webber Bus have ceased trading, I understand that officers at Somerset County are working to ensure all essential services are operational tomorrow and making plans to maintain services where possible.

"Webberbus Ltd currently provides transport serving six schools, four colleges and more than a dozen public routes (the most affected areas are Bridgwater town centre, West Somerset, Cheddar and Burnham-on-Sea areas).

"Schools and colleges served by Webberbus Secondary schools: Haygrove, Robert Blake, Bridgwater College Academy and Chilton Trinity.

"Primary schools: Kingsmoor Primary and Catcott Primary. Colleges/post 16: Bridgwater College and Strode College.

"Routes into Richard Huish and SCAT may become overcrowded, but Buses of Somerset already run parallel routes.”

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said: "We have responded immediately to this difficult situation and our staff are working hard to arrange for other operators to pick up these services where possible.

"We are confident that all services taking students to schools and colleges will be covered by replacement services from tomorrow morning.

"There should also be cover for the public routes where there are no other reasonable alternatives.

"On routes already covered by other operators, they will be doing their best to fill the gaps.

"We apologise for the disruption that this has caused."

Taunton Deane MP, Rebecca Pow, said: "First of all my sympathies go out to all those whose jobs are affected by this news.

"And I realise many bus users will be affected by this unfortunate announcement.

"I am pressing Cllr David Fothergill, responsible for transport at Somerset County Council to do all in his power to minimise disruption and to support those literally left high and dry.

"This includes students trying to get to school as Webber Bus operated buses for six schools and four colleges across Somerset."