STAGECOACH has granted a further one-year reprieve to the number 65 bus following a survey designed to better understand the use of the service.

Facing the axe last year because of lack of use, public pressure granted the under-fire service a nine-month reprieve in September to allow Stagecoach to establish if demand for the service could be increased enough to make it viable.

Passengers had argued that the Alton to Farnham bus was the only one to service Bentley village and that it provided a vital link for students and workers, as well as access to Farnham Hospital and people wishing to continue to Guildford.

A passenger survey was conducted by Alton Town Council and Bentley Parish Council, the results of which have been analysed.

On the back of this, at a meeting of the town council’s planning and transportation committee last Wednesday, it was announced that Stagecoach had confirmed that it would give the 65 bus service “at least a one-year reprieve”.

In discussing the results of the survey, at a meeting in March, the committee had pointed out that it was apparent from the 217 responses to the survey “that the service satisfies a number of needs, including being able to travel to and from work, and to college in Alton, as well as attending hospital appointments”.

There was due to be a meeting yesterday (Thursday) between Stagecoach South, Alton Town Council and representatives of Bentley and Froyle parish councils to discuss further the outcome of the survey and the new timetable for the 65 bus service.