A BUS operator says it has been overwhelmed by calls from passengers worried that their services are being axed in a cutback on subsidies.

Go North-East says that the vast majority of passengers will not be affected by the cuts and reductions that will follow Durham County Council's decision to try to claw back a projected £700,000 overspend.

Some services at night and on Sundays will be lost as the council tries to stay within the £3.5m budget it has to pay operators to run buses that they would otherwise find unprofitable but are considered important to the communities they serve.

Go North-East commercial director Martin Harris said: "The changes to services are not as bad for the vast majority of passengers as initially outlined. Despite some journeys being cancelled, most customers will be largely unaffected."

The company says some journeys on certain services will be affected by the cutbacks.

The service numbers are: 12, 41, 42, 64, 80, 81, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88, 89, 108, 109, 111, 112, 152, 154, 230, 231, 707, 712, 715, 725, 729, 730, 759, 810, 902 and 969.

A company spokesman said many passengers had contacted the firm because they had the impression that three services - the X6, 21 (727) and 720 - would be completely axed.

"The X6 will have one journey cancelled from Langley Park to Chester-le-Street.

The 21 is not affected, but the 727 evening and Sunday service will be cancelled. However, the 725 will be re-routed in order to cover the patch," said the spokesman.

"The 720 will only be affected on Sundays when the service will cease to operate."

The county council says it does not have the money to fund rising costs and says that passenger numbers are falling.

Further details are available from the company on 0845 60 60 260 or at www.simplygo.com.