Support for bus services in Farnborough and Fleet
Friday, 08 March 2013
Hampshire County Council has agreed £135,000 funding to subsidise two bus services in Farnborough and Fleet: the 41 and 71 helping to ensure that local residents can get to work, education and training, do their shopping and enjoy local leisure facilities and entertainment.
A contract for subsidised journeys on bus service 41 to Ash will be awarded for two years, seven months. This in line with renewal dates for other four year bus subsidy contracts in the area due to be reviewed in October 2015. The contract for the 41 was originally awarded to RJB (UK) in April 2011 but the County Council was required to step in after the operator had to stop trading in January (2013). The new operator for this service is Stagecoach/FleetBuzz. Surrey County Council will contribute £25,000 towards the cost of the 41.
Secondly, a short term contract has been awarded to keep service 71 in operation, following a decision by the current commercial operator, FleetBuzz, to withdraw the service. The new contract will run for six months from 15 April 2013 until options for a replacement service for the 71 can be assessed and local consultation has taken place. This service will serve the areas of Calthorpe Park and Pondtail.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: "In awarding these new contracts, we aim to ensure that transport services continue to support access for work, education, retail and health services for the widest section of the community, while achieving value for money. We have sought to maintain the existing network of services where possible.
"We have had to consider bus subsidies against a background of reduced funding from the Government as well as a reduction in the rural bus subsidy grant. Our aim is ensure that, as far as possible, communities are not left dependent on the private car and we work closely with bus operators and local people to find a way to achieve this within budget."
The County Council subsidises a small proportion (15%) of bus journeys in Hampshire - this is where bus companies are paid to provide services that are not commercially viable and would not otherwise be run. Around 8,700 journeys are made by Hampshire residents each week day on these subsidised services.