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New service brings bus help
A NEW late-night bus service running from Basingstoke town centre to Oakridge, Popley and Chineham will start next week – thanks to a reshuffle by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
The special one-way Shuttle Bus will leave Basingstoke railway station at 10.38pm every day from Monday, April 2 and it is hoped the new service will help people affected by recent bus cuts.
The service will be funded by axing the last Shuttle Bus from the train station to Basingstoke Leisure Park, for which the borough council is responsible, after just 37 people used it in the last six months.
The change has been hailed as a “small victory” by Popley West borough Councillor Jane Frankum, who has been campaigning to improve bus services in the borough.
She told The Gazette: “Obviously, it is the first step, but there is a long way to go. This will help people in that part of the town but what about those in other areas who won’t be able to get about after 9.15pm? When the (county) council makes these sweeping cuts, they do not realise the devastation it has.”
All services from the town now stop at 9.15pm after Hampshire County Council reduced its funding to bus operator Stagecoach for running less profitable routes.
The new Shuttle Bus will cost £1 for a journey to Bennet Close in Oakridge and £2 to the Chineham Arms pub, the last stop on the route.
Cllr Rob Golding, borough Cabinet member for planning, transport and infrastructure, said: “The last journey of the Shuttle Bus to the leisure park was very much a ‘dead run’, with very few passengers using it.
“As the bus goes back to Chineham at the end of each day anyway, there was an opportunity to provide public transport to some people from the town centre a bit later in the evening at no extra cost.
“Therefore, we are starting this additional ‘journey home’ to parts of Chineham, Oakridge and Popley from April as a trial run to assess take up of this service.”
For more information visit basingstoke.gov. uk/go/chinehamlatebus.