CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating "a victory for common sense" after plans to axe a crucial express bus service from Runcorn to Liverpool were scrapped.

Arriva planned to cut the X1 route, running from Halton Hospital to Liverpool One in just under an hour, because it had "become unsustainable" and put the idea out to public consultation.

A spokesman said today that after considering its results, the service will now be retained and operated on a new timetable as of January 19, 2020.

If the service had been cut, residents would have to rely on the much slower 500 service between Murdishaw and Liverpool One.

If the X1 is also axed, it would have left Halton with no express bus services to Liverpool city centre.

There were also fears people would lose their jobs if there was no bus to get them to work.

Mike Amesbury, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Weaver Vale, had launched a petition calling for the 'vital' service to be saved.

Responding to news that it will not be axed, Mr Amesbury told Runcorn & Widnes World: "This is a victory for common sense and the thanks go to the local community in Runcorn who have driven the campaign to save this vital X1 bus service.

"This should never have been threatened with the axe in the first place and demonstrates that the current system of bus provision is not fit for purpose.

"A big thank you to over a thousand residents that signed my petition."

An Arriva spokesperson said: "Arriva initiated the consultation due to our intention to withdraw the service due to it not being commercially viable.

"The consultation held in November has given Arriva time to examine the responses and following on from the feedback we will retain the service and operate it on a new timetable as of January 19, 2020.

"Arriva would like to thank all participants of the consultation."