WORKERS in Basingstoke town centre could be forced to seek alternative transport following an announcement to change the running times of a shuttle bus service.

Currently, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council helps run a bus service linking the Leisure Park with the town centre, railway station and Basing View.

However, as of March 4 there will be revisions to the service meaning it will run from 7am to 7.32pm Monday to Friday, 9.40am to 6.18pm on Saturday and with no Sunday service.

People who work in the town centre, in particular Festival Place stores, have said this will cause an issue with them being able to get back to their vehicles as they have to stay at the shopping centre after the stores close.

One staff member, who did not wish to be named, told The Gazette: “If I’m out of work late, I cannot get home as the last bus will be 7.24pm and sometimes I am not out until gone 7.30pm.

“Parking in town is expensive so they [the borough council] encourage you to use public transport and park and ride is popular, and now they are looking to cut this service.”

They added: “If you wanted to do something in the evening, you can’t use it if you’re going to the Anvil or to use any of the Leisure Park facilities.”

Workers have also raised concerns that during busy periods, like over Christmas, they will be forced to take up spaces in town centre car parks as they will not be able to get back to their vehicles parked at the Leisure Park without having to get a taxi or another bus route.

The borough council said the change in the timetable comes after assessing the number of passengers which use the shuttle bus service.

As a result the decision to reduce the service was taken as it was no longer “cost effective.”

Cabinet member for communities and community safety at the borough council, Councillor Simon Bound, said: “We continue to fully subsidise the Centre Shuttle as we have for many years to provide a way of parking at the Leisure Park and using the town centre facilities.

“Together with Stagecoach, we have assessed the usage of the shuttle bus and the new timetable reflects the times the service is being used by passengers.

“It is not environmentally friendly or cost effective to run a week day late evening, a Saturday evening or a Sunday service when there is an average of between two and three people using the service. Our aim is to support sustainable transport when it is really sustainable.”

For more information about the changes, go to: