NO decision has been made on the future of the number 12 bus service in Basingstoke, according to Hampshire’s transport chief.

The response comes after a campaign was launched to save the at-risk service.

Subsidies previously given to run the route are now under threat as Hampshire County Council (HCC) looks to save £140 million from its budget.

As previously reported in The Gazette, a campaign, backed by Basingstoke Liberal Democrat councillors, has been set up to save the route which is operated by the Stagecoach Group, and links Hatch Warren to the town centre, passing through Brighton Hill, Cranbourne, Black Dam and Eastrop along the way.

However, executive member for environment and transport at HCC, Cllr Rob Humby, said no decision has been made.

Cllr Humby said: “No decisions on the number 12 or any subsidised route have yet been made, neither will they be until we have carried out a public consultation.

“I would, however, point out that most places along the route have other commercially operated bus services available.

“While I appreciate the number 12 in Basingstoke links a number of communities, most areas are reasonably well served by alternative commercial services.”

Cllr Humby added: ”We are committed to working with bus operators on improving bus travel throughout Hampshire and have, for some years, directed our available financial resources to support public transport on improvements that encourage more people to use it.

“We have done this by providing funding to kickstart new services and improve journeys by investing in real time information, bus stop infrastructure and contactless payments on buses.

“However, with unfunded pressures and growing need in children’s and adult social care, we are having to look at spending across all county council services, and the bus subsidy budget for commercially unviable services is part of this review.”

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