Villagers fear fewer local bus routes ahead

Witney Gazette: Villagers fear fewer local bus routes ahead Villagers fear fewer local bus routes ahead

Bus services connecting Combe, Finstock and Witney could be cancelled, leaving villagers with fewer routes into town.

The 243 route, which runs on Tuesdays and Fridays, has not been put up for tender by Oxfordshire County Council.

The service is currently run by Pulhams Coaches and will continue until June 1.

Pulhams director Andrew Pulham said: “The tenders have just all been reviewed, and the 243 service was not included.”

He added: “I was told the council had found someone who shows an interest to make it commercially viable.”

Currently, the council pays Pulham Coaches to make up for the losses from the bus route because not enough people use the service to make it profitable.

Mr Pulham said: “I can tell you there’s no way you can leave that route as it is and make it commercially viable. I reckon they will merge it with another nearby route.”

The council says an unnamed, not-for-profit operator has shown an interest and may run the service from July.

County council spokesman Marcus Mabberly said: “We are working with a view that the 243 route would continue in the future with a community transport operator.

“A final decision is expected at the end of March. The work is part of regular reviews of subsidised bus services, which involve extensive public consultation, to ensure there are services for people to use whilst taking into account the limited amount of subsidy funding that is available.”

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