BUSES from Chepstow to Newport which faced the axe will continue after Newport Bus stepped in to take over the routes.

Newport Bus will run the 74 service in the Severnside area through Magor, Caldicot, Undy and Portskewett from July 21.

In April the route’s current provider Stagecoach announced they were giving up running the service, blaming a lack of Welsh Government investment.

A Monmouthshire council spokesman said the service will not cost the authority any extra money and will be run from Newport and Chepstow via Caldicot from 6.24am to 11.30pm.

During peak times the service, which will include links to Nash College, will run every 30 minutes and every hour during quieter periods.

Newport Bus will be holding surgeries in the coming months to gauge what improvements might be needed for the services. It has said fares will be lower than they are at present.

As part of the new plan, the 74 will not run through Underwood and will cut ten minutes off the journey time from Newport to Chepstow.

But Newport Bus will run a 21 service between Newport and Underwood via Spytty Retail Park. The frequency of the buses can increase if demand dictates.

This can be used by users of the 74 service if they want to travel to Underwood and change at Langstone or Queensway in Newport.

Monmouthshire and Newport councils will look to see if the 62 service can provide better service to the Caldicot area and provide further links between Caerwent, Caldicot and Severn Tunnel Junction.

Newport Bus’ managing director Scott Pearson said “We recognise the importance of these communities on Severnside being served by good quality public transport, as a company we are prepared to supply these bus services and continually review them to ensure they are proving commercially viable.

"The consultation process with the local authority and community councils suggests that they are, but I would stress that in this difficult financial climate for public transport in Wales that the services clearly need to be used to ensure longevity.”

And Monmouth Assembly Member Nick Ramsay welcomed the announcement.

He said: “I would like to congratulate Monmouthshire county council for working so hard to find solutions to a very complex issue. Many people, particularly older residents or those without their own transport, depend heavily on reliable bus services to access vital facilities such as hospitals, doctors, shopping and social pursuits. I hope these new arrangements will prove satisfactory.”