A VITAL bus service for Isle of Wight commuters has been saved by Red Funnel.
The ferry company has stepped in to rescue the CityLink service in Southampton, which was under threat after key funding was withdrawn.
Red Funnel will take over the service, which connects the Isle of Wight ferry terminals with Southampton Central and the City Centre, from May 12.
It will remain free for Red Funnel ticket holders and Rail and National Express customers with valid through-tickets to and from the Isle of Wight.
A flat fare of £1 per trip will be introduced for all other passengers.
Sales and marketing director Jonathan Green said: "By taking over the CityLink contract we now have scope to improve its visual identity and integrate it with real-time ferry information so customers can see where connecting services are in relation to one another."
The service will operate every 30 minutes using the existing route along Portland Terrace and Castle Way, connecting most Red Jet arrivals and departures on Town Quay with South West Trains services to and from London Waterloo.
Despite carrying more than a million passengers each year, the service faced the axe after cash-strapped Southampton City Council and another partner withdrew funding.
Timetable details will be available soon at www.redfunnel.co.uk/citylink