A "LIFELINE" local bus service has seen a boost in use since its future was threatened, it has been claimed.

A petition to save the Number 33 from Ross-on-Wye to Gloucester was presented to Herefordshire Council on Friday.

Councillor Harry Bramer joined Conservative parliamentary candidate for Hereford Jesse Norman in handing the names over.

Both Mr Bramer and Mr Norman have been active in trying to keep the 33 running. Hereford MP Paul Keetch is also involved.

Operator Stagecoach says the 33 - which runs hourly from Ross to Gloucester with stops at Lea and Weston-under-Penyard - doesn't pay its way.

But Coun Bramer said Stagecoach had since told him that passenger numbers were now picking up.

The campaign wants Herefordsdhire Council to help keep the 33 running, but the council says this can only be done within existing resources.

Bus service subsidies already cost the council about £2 million a year, split into specific government grants and cash from the council's transport budget.

These subsidies of up to £100,000 are enough to meet what's needed now, but there's not much scope for any more.

The council is currently seeking tenders for a replacement service should Stagecoach stop the 33 and hopes Gloucestershire Council can help cover the cost.