Hampshire County Council has agreed financial support totalling £123,000 to keep Alresford's well-used Cango service operating for a further four years from April.
The contract for the Alresford Cango was originally awarded to RJB (UK) in July 2011 but the County Council was required to step in after the operator had to stop trading in January (2013). At that time, Hampshire County Council arranged an emergency temporary contract to keep the service running and this expires on 21 April 2013. The new operator for this service is FleetBuzz.
Alresford Cango is a bus service with a flexible, not fixed route which operates from Alresford to Basingstoke, serving the villages in between (including Swarraton, Upper Wield and Farleigh Wallop). People can get on the Cango buses at either 'timed' or 'bookable' stopping points. The service provides a means of public transport for people to access education, go shopping or to travel to health services and facilities.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: "There are enormous pressures on our budget, particularly when this is set against backdrop of reduced funding from the Government including a reduction in the rural bus subsidy grant. It is important that we ensure we manage our resources carefully to maintain essential services. We want to keep Hampshire moving, as well as support our communities to promote well-being and economic prosperity. Investment in community transport is important, particularly for those in rural areas where traditional bus services have been withdrawn by bus operators. In financially supporting the Alresford Cango, I am satisfied that the needs of the communities it serves will be met.
"Many people find the Cango service extremely valuable. For example, it can make all the difference to an older resident living in rural areas where being able get on a bus from a point nearer home to go shopping or visit friends and relatives means that person is able to live independently even if they do not have a car, and can travel more cost effectively. Likewise, a service like this means that younger people at school or college have a reliable means of transport."
Anyone that is interested in finding out more about the Alresford Cango can call 01962 845126 or 0845 602 4135 or look at the information online.