Preston’s bitter bus wars have come to an end after the companies involved were told to sign a peace deal.

Rival firms Stagecoach and Preston Bus have signed a code of practice vowing to adhere to strict guidelines bringing the year-long battle for the city's most lucrative routes to an end.

North West Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell said she hoped the bus industry in the city would move from strength to strength and put past problems to one side.

At the inquiry on yesterday Mrs Bell endorsed a code of practice governing the way the two companies work in the city.

The code will be backed up by independent monitoring by Lancashire County Council which will be financed by the two companies.

Mrs Bell added: “I hope now that this sorry period that has done so much harm to the good name of the bus industry can be put behind us and the people of Preston will get the safe and reliable services to which they are entitled.”

However, Mrs Bell warned the directors of both companies that she would not hesitate to act further if the companies did not keep their promises.

She added: “My view has been that it was better for both operators to give assurances about future behaviour rather than spend days washing dirty linen in public at an inquiry.

“However, if issues of this kind happen again I will not hesitate to use my powers to deal with them.”

The regional traffic chief decided not to hear from witnesses at a proposed week-long hearing, arguing that "nothing they would have told me would have changed my mind".

Mrs Bell previously warned Preston-based Stagecoach and Preston Bus, which have been at loggerheads over routes and conduct over the last year, that she will take whatever action necessary to bring an end to the dispute.

In February, two Stagecoach bus drivers who threw eggs at Preston bus vehicles had their licences suspended for two weeks.

Jason Martin Lowe and Patrick Ryan Turner, both 20, admitted throwing eggs at a Preston Bus vehicles in Ribbleton and New Hall Lane in August last year.

A Stagecoach spokesman said: “We hope the conclusion of the inquiry draws a line under recent events and means we can all concentrate on our common aim of encouraging more people to get on board public transport."

Peter Bell, managing director of Preston Bus, said: “The traffic commissioner identified a way forward that will deal with monitoring services in the future and we consider that this is a positive move.”