PASSENGERS are delighted after the X53 coastal bus Sunday service was saved until the end of the year.

The vehicle was due to stop on Sundays on November 4 after the county council couldn’t find funding.

But now the authority has performed a U-turn and has found £8,000 to keep the Sunday services going until the end of 2012.

Coun Ron Coatsworth, who is the Bride Valley county councillor, said: “I am delighted that people will be able to use their bus service on Sundays during the winter.

“It is important as people can become isolated in villages.”

The X53 runs along the Dorset coast and into Devon. It includes stops in Weymouth, Chickerell, Portesham, Abbotsbury, Burton Bradstock, West Bay, Bridport, Chideock, Morcombelake, Charmouth and Lyme Regis.

Coun Coatsworth and Burton Bradstock district councillor John Russell were among those to raise the issue at a recent county council environment committee meeting Coun Coatsworth said that he hoped another £10,000 could be found at County Hall to ensure the service covers January to March as well.

He said: “It will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting. I am optimistic. The case has been made.”

He added that people should make sure they use the bus if they can to ensure that it keeps going.

Barbara James of Burton Bradstock also spoke at the meeting and said she was delighted to see the Sunday service saved.

She said: “It’s fantastic. The service is very important for tourism, especially as we have the Jurassic Coast.”

The county council’s proposals to halt its funding for the Sunday service sparked out an outcry.

Members of Bridport Town Council protested against the move. The Western Area Transport Action Group (WATAG) was also concerned.

Alan Williams of WATAG urged people to get new timetables from the tourist information centre as some times had changed on the X53 and 31.

They included some services leaving earlier, including the 7.20am service from Weymouth getting into West Bay and Burton Bradstock four minutes earlier.

There are also changes to the early X53 service leaving Lyme Regis at 6.26am instead of 6.39am.