Part of a “lifeline” bus service which looked set to be axed could be saved, Watford mayor Peter Taylor has claimed.

Hertfordshire County Council has reportedly told him that the section between Abbots Langley and the town centre is “safe”, as operators will be invited to apply to run it.

The authority is also reportedly “looking at options” for the rest of the 328 service from the centre to Mount Vernon Hospital via South Oxhey.

A spokesperson for the county council said: “We’re aware that Arriva are planning to withdraw the commercially-run 328 bus service due to low passenger numbers, and we have put out a tender for the service to see if any bus companies are interested in bidding to run the service under contract, and how much that might cost.

"The tender ends next week, and we will evaluate the results before making any decisions on whether or not a replacement service can be funded.”

The route is set to be withdrawn from June 2 just months after it replaced three other services last November.

The decision sparked a 1,000-strong petition calling on the head of Hertfordshire transport authority Intalink to save the bus, calling it a “lifeline to many”.

Watford Observer: The 328 service from Abbots Langley to Mount Vernon is currently run by Arriva.The 328 service from Abbots Langley to Mount Vernon is currently run by Arriva. (Image: Arriva)

The petition, which was launched on April 22, warned that it was an “invaluable” service for elderly people and residents travelling to work or for treatment at the hospital.

Current operator Arriva has said the service was “no longer financially sustainable” due to a shortage of local drivers and overall lower passenger numbers post-pandemic.

Mr Taylor has said he will meet Arriva bosses on Tuesday, May 7, to “discuss the situation”.