Concern over potential loss of bus services to rural villages

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RURAL buses are a vital lifeline and must be supported, district councillors have told their county counterparts.

Routes that serve rural areas are under threat as Hampshire County Council looks into cutting £1.2m from its transport budget.

Among a number of options under discussion is the possibility of withdrawing subsidies for Sunday services and services after 7pm.

There are also proposals to start the older people’s bus pass at 9.30am instead of 9am and replace much of the printed publicity for bus services with a greater amount of electronic information.

In a written response to the consultation East Hampshire District Council said: ‘Hampshire County Council should make every possible effort to avoid any service reductions in rural East Hampshire, especially reducing off-peak services which are often a social lifeline for those without access to a car.’

At the recent East Hampshire full council meeting councillors said the existing arrangements for older people’s bus passes should be retained and added that the county council should increase the amount of written publicity because lack of information is one of the prime reasons given for not using existing bus services.

The county council consultation continues until May 31. Residents can find out which services may be affected and take part in the consultation at hants.gov.uk/transportconsultation2014.

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