THREE out of 11 bus services under threat by the closure of the Leven Valley bus company have been saved.

Rival company Stagecarriage has taken on the 84 Stockton to Stillington service and the 45 Middlesbrough to Wolviston Court, Billingham service.

Arriva will run the 7A (formerly the 77) service from Stockton-Yarm via Willey Flats and the company is also revising its service 6 to operate a longer day between Hartburn and Stockton to replace withdrawn peak time services in Hartburn, near Stockton.

The changes will be submitted to the Traffic Commissioner for registration.

Stockton Borough Council is still in negotiations with other bus companies and more of Leven Valley's services, and expects to report more developments this week.

Leven Valley announced last week it was closing as of March 21 after a massive hike in its insurance premiums, from £54,000 to £154,000 a year. It partly blamed the compensation culture for its demise, as well as tough economic conditions, lower-than-anticipated passenger numbers and the end of the last remaining public subsidies.

Nick Knox, area managing director for Arriva North East said: “We wanted to try and help those passengers who may find themselves without a service into Stockton from both Hartburn and Yarm. We will be operating these services until further notice."

Louise Baldock, Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Stockton South, said: "This news will be a welcome relief for some bus passengers and I am grateful that some services will be recovered.

“However, the whole sorry story proves once again that the local bus market across Teesside is not fit for purpose and desperately needs reform. Over recent years we have seen service after service taken off our roads, leaving people who rely upon public transport isolated. Across the region buses are doing seven million miles fewer journeys than in 2010.

“We need to give the power back to passengers and put local communities in control of local bus services."

Leven Valley operates 11 services across Stockton, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Billingham.

Connect Tees Valley, which co-odinates bus services on behalf of the five local authorities, is said to be looking at the rest of the services to see if other operators will take them over.

It is hoped some of LevenValley's 22 drivers will transfer to Compass Royston and the company is hoping to avoid any compulsory redundancies. Managing director Andrew Carter said he was "absolutely gutted" about the closure last week and said there had been a rise in the numbers of passengers making claims through free personal injury phoneline companies.