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Village community bus scheme hailed a success
A COMMUNITY bus launched to provide transport to residents in rural areas surrounding Darlington has proved a huge success, with hundreds using the service each month.
The Our Bus service, operated by Scarlet Band, runs three times a week, connecting villages - including Bishopton, Sadberge, Great Stainton, Hurworth and Neasham - with Darlington town centre and the Asda supermarket.
Since launched in September, hundreds of journeys have been completed, raising hopes that the pot of funding used to keep it running may stretch for another two years.
The green Our Bus, which operates as the number 20, is licensed to pick up passengers at any bus stop on its route into Darlington town centre, boosting the number of people who use the service.
The community bus was founded after local councillors and residents fought to provide transport for people left isolated by the withdrawal of commercial services, following council cuts to subsidies.
Councillor Brian Jones, ward member for Sadberge, who was one of the campaigners behind the service, said Our Bus was proving very popular with residents.
He said: “The number of passengers we are seeing each day is really, really good and I’m highly delighted that what we’ve been able to provide is so well used.
“It just goes to show how much it was needed in the villages around Darlington. We are not able to run a full time service, even though that would be nice to have – that would be an expensive luxury.
“Clearly there are still financial aspects to be looked at and we’ve got to look at a way of continuing to run the service when the money runs out but we have plans to utilise a charitable organisation to keep it going.
“If those routes made money Arriva would be running the service but they don’t and we are doing the best we can with the money we have.”
The Our Bus operates three times a day, three days a week. For full details of the service visit scarletbandbuses.co.uk
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