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Hartley Wintney to take the wheel of bus service
A VILLAGE will run its own bus service after winning a contract worth £246,000.
The community transport scheme, run by Hartley Wintney Parish Council, will start on May 1 and will include seven daily commuter runs to Winchfield railway station, and trips to Basingstoke hospital. Off-peak door-to-door services and shopping trips will also be considered.
The service will be operated by an administrator and two drivers, who will work part-time.
The project was awarded a five-year contract by Hampshire County Council last month after two years of negotiation.
As reported in The Gazette, Stagecoach announced in 2010 that it would axe its No. 10 bus route, which used to run from Basingstoke to Camberley, via Hook, Odiham, Winchfield and Hartley Wintney.
A revised bus route has since been set up, although some villagers in Hook are trying to revise it further.
Councillor Dorothy Harvey, chairman of Hartley Wintney Parish Council, said: “The loss of the main bus service through the village in October 2011 demonstrated the fragility of services reliant upon huge subsidies which cannot be maintained in the current economic climate.
“This contract means that we can bridge the gap and provide a local, cost-effective means of travel for residents.”
The parish council contacted Hampshire County Council in 2010, to request that developer money from the St Mary’s Park development in Dilly Lane be used for a local transport service.
The county council had to put the service out to competitive tender due to the value of the project. It was finally approved by Councillor Mel Kendal, executive member for environment and transport.
The five-year scheme is likely to cost £325,000 in total, with the difference between the total cost and the grant coming from fares, although the scheme is not-for-profit.