Alton’s Community Bus is due to start again every Saturday for those in Eastbrooke and Wooteys who do not have a weekend or bank holiday bus service.
Thanks to a grant of £10,000 from the East Hampshire District Council welfare fund, Alton Community Bus was able to buy a second-hand bus in conjunction with Alton Community Centre.
Paula Langley, founder of Alton Community Bus and an Alton Eastbrooke district councillor, said: “We have been unable to run the Saturday service for some time, because of Covid and then the state of the old bus at the community centre.
“With this amazing support from EHDC, the Alton Community Centre was able to buy a fantastic minibus, meaning the Saturday and event service can start again.”
With a new route planned to take in even more of the Eastbrooke and Wooteys areas, the team are looking for passengers to let them know where they want to go.
They cannot compete with commercial routes and so it can only be where there is no bus service in that area on a Saturday.
Cllr Langley continued: “This bus is for everyone.
“We want it to be a service that not only supports those unable to get into town, but people who realise leaving their cars at home is good for the environment, as well as their wallets.
“It will have a strict timetable, just like a normal bus, and can be booked in advance if there are specific events in town people want to go to.”
The Alton Community Bus started several years ago with a shuttle service for the Yuletide Festival, and it is hoped residents will use and support this service again.
With only a £1.50 suggested donation, it is cheaper than parking or using taxis.
“With a personal service that means you can ask to be dropped off or picked up anywhere safe along the route, it is a great addition to support our local businesses in town,” added Cllr Langley.
With sponsorship and grants from East Hampshire District Council leader Cllr Richard Millard, Bookers & Bolton Solicitors, and other local businesses in the past, it is hoped this can provide a much-needed lifeline for those who are isolated from the town and the events hosted there.
The new Saturday shuttle route will be decided this week, and maps and timetables can be found on the Alton Community Bus Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AltonCommunityBus, Bookers & Bolton Solicitors website www.bookersandbolton.co.uk, the Action for Eastbrooke and Wooteys pages, and will be published in as many other newsletters as possible.
If you would like to know more about the bus, be added to the regulars’ list, become a paid driver, offer sponsorship or book it for town events, call Paula Langley on 01420 558333 or send an email to [email protected]