Bus route saved by campaigning Fareham student

School heads join MP to call for fair share of funding

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A BUS route has been saved thanks to a campaigning student who went as far as writing to the Prime Minister to ask for help.

Cara Rimmer and dozens of youngsters at Cams Hill School are rejoicing this week after learning the First Bus 610 service from Catisfield will be replaced by a brand new Xelabus route.

A few weeks ago they were informed the 610 service would be axed from April 23, as it was losing money.

Without it, students faced longer and more expensive journeys on two buses.

But 15-year-old Cara, who is taking her GCSEs this year, wouldn’t take no for an answer – and wrote to David Cameron. Today, her prayers have been answered.

Cara said: ‘I’m overwhelmed – I felt so strongly about this, but I never thought anyone would listen.

‘I had a reply from Mr Cameron who advised me to email Mark Hoban (Fareham MP) who contacted Hampshire County Council on my behalf.

‘This is great news for our school, and it has taken off the pressure. It means we can all get back to focusing on schoolwork and preparing for our GCSEs.

‘It also shows that when you want something badly enough and it’s something worth fighting for – you can get it.’

Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, took up the issue with the county’s head of passenger transport as soon as he heard about Cara’s campaign.

He said: ‘I’m very pleased with the result.

‘I want to congratulate the students who brought it to our attention, so we could do something about it.

‘I was impressed with their determination.’

He added: ‘It’s hard enough getting up in the morning at that age without having to get up a lot earlier.

‘Now they can concentrate on being at school rather than getting to school.’

Gareth Blair, Xelabus company director, said he was delighted to step in and offer cheaper rates – £1.20 single and £2 return compared with £1.85 and £2.90 rates respectively.

He said: ‘The 610 route always carried good numbers of students who were going to be left high and dry.

‘We’ve stepped in and we’re offering cheaper fares. If we get 40 to 50 students a day, which is what we’ve been told, we’re confident we could sustain the service beyond September.’