A long-running bus service in South Cambs villages and Royston will start anew next week on a commercial basis, having previously been subsidised by Cambridgeshire County Council.

The 127 bus, which serves Melbourn, Meldreth, Whaddon, Kneesworth, Bassingbourn, Litlington, Mordens and Royston, will start running again as the number 17 on April 6, run by operator A2B.

Melbourn and Bassingbourn county councillor Susan van de Ven, who is chair of Cam Vale Bus User Group, said: "This is very welcome news for residents who depend on a bus service for getting out and about.

"It also signals important confidence for the future - and I know I'm looking forward to getting back onto public transport."

The launch of the 17 service follows discussions between local councillors and council bus officers in Herts and Cambs on how to strengthen key rural bus services for a wider area.

Litlington and Mordens county councillor Sebastian Kindersley said: "I'm hopeful we will see this service develop strongly.

"A lot of work has been done on potential amalgamation of services over the county border - we're keen to keep that conversation going.

"I'd like to thank our Hertfordshire colleagues for their support."

A2B operator Brian Clifford added: "Thanks to Susan and her continued support and patience the turning circle area at North End Bassingbourn will be reinstated on all journeys, resulting in the withdrawal of The Fillance loop.

"A new feature of the 17 will be a stop at the Royston Gateway shopping centre on journeys in and out of Royston.

"The bus is fully accessible, can accommodate folding bikes, and runs on a Euro 5 emissions standard.

"The timetable has been simplified to every two hours at repeating times for ease of remembering and regular familiarisation.

"Due to lack of use, the 8.05am journey will not operate on Saturday mornings and the 6.15pm journey will be discontinued. No fares have changed and all concession cards are valid exactly as before.

"We intend to make some fare changes as well at a later date to encourage usage, including a new range of weekly, monthly and all-day tickets for adults and children."

New timetables are available on the bus and at www.a2bbusandcoach.com