THE FREE Community Bus service funded by EDF which runs three times between Minehead and Bridgwater has been given the green light to run for another year.

The service was initially sanctioned for 12 months after launching in February 2017, and the Mercury can reveal that this service has been given another year.

The bus runs at 10am, 11.30am and 1pm Monday to Friday, and calls at Combwich, Nether Stowey, Stogursey, Holford, Kilve, Doniford and Blue Anchor.

EDF confirmed it has an average of 15 people using it per day.

David Eccles, head of stakeholder engagement for EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C, said: “It’s a real pleasure to be able to continue providing this bus service for the next 12 months as it makes a big difference to the lives of local people.

"It's great Hinkley Point C is continuing to benefit local communities and that this bus service has proved popular with residents."

The service initially came about through negotiations between EDF, Somerset Passenger Solutions, Somerset County Council and local authorities.

The Community Bus service was designed to fill some of the gaps left when Webberbus abruptly ceased trading in 2016.

Councillor David Fothergill, leader of Somerset County Council said: “This is exactly the kind of partnership working and creative thinking that we need to solve some of the rural transport issues we face.

“We have worked hard with EDF Energy and other local bus operators to ensure that this route does not impact on the viability of other local bus routes."

In order to help sustain West Somerset's bus network, users can only use the free bus in locations where there are no alternative commercial services.

Meanwhile the Buses of Somerset has announced a number of minor changes in the Bridgwater area which will see the Saturday service withdrawn from the Bridgwater Town Service B2 which covers Alfoxton Road, Sydenham Parkway and Kings Drive.

Meanwhile the 14 service from Bridgwater to Cannington will now run every 90 minutes instead of hourly on Saturdays but re-routed to help cover the loss of the B2 service.

These changes will come into effect from Sunday, February 4.