County cash to save bus route

This article doesn’t mention parking but it shows a distinct lack of communication from Surrey County Council.

From the Petersfield Post yesterday, County cash to save bus route

A FINANCIAL rescue package has been announced which will save a vital bus service between Whitehill, Bordon, Lindford, Headley and Grayshott. Hampshire County Council has earmarked a substantial amount of money to keep the number 18 bus running to Whitehill, through the villages and on to Haslemere rail station.

The news was announced after Surrey County Council decided that from September it wouldn’t pay to keep the service operating. Initially Surrey didn’t tell Hampshire residents and councillors it was considering axing its support for the bus route after a survey alleged it wasn’t used enough to justify a subsidy. The likely decision was discovered virtually by accident, when some parish councils along the route discovered what was happening. Hampshire county councillor for Grayshott, Headley and Bramshott and Liphook Ferris Cowper, was told, and has since campaigned vigorously to save the service. He said: “This is a well used bus with at least six to seven passengers per trip, which is a good rate of utilisation in a rural area such as ours. “If nothing had been done it would have been catastrophic for the most needy sections of our community. “It connects communities with a population of over 25,000 in Hampshire, as well as Hindhead and Haslemere in Surrey, with no public transport links, with schools, hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, dentists, a railway station and shops.”

Although the full details of the rescue package aren’t finalised yet, Hampshire County Council’s head of passenger transport Peter Shelley said it had been confirmed Surrey wouldn’t susidise the service after September. He also confirmed Hampshire has set aside a tidy sum, but as yet unannounced, amount to keep the number 18 going after then. He said: “Hampshire County Council has approached Stagecoach, and the company may be able to offer an attractive cost for retaining the route, otherwise we will go out to open tender. “The current contract runs until September which will enable Hampshire County Council to put a new contract in place so that this vital service continues.”