Bus service to tackle lack of public transportBy Laura Nightingale
March 21, 2013
PEOPLE living in Hart could see a new Saturday bus service to tackle a lack of weekend public transport from Yateley to Fleet.
Yelabus, a transport charity in Yateley, has proposed a minibus service to Fleet’s shops and weekly market for people who do not drive.
If there is sufficient interest in the new bus service, other destinations could be added including Wokingham and Basingstoke.
Councillor Andy Whitaker, mayor of Yateley and chairman of the charity, said: “Currently there is no commercial bus service to Fleet on Saturdays.
“Fleet Town has aspirations to be the ‘market town’ for Hart District.
“But Yateley has a population of more than 20,000 and has no public transport means of getting to Fleet on a Saturday for its farmers markets.”
The proposal comes after the charity received £1,000 from a Hampshire County Council Have Your Say competition this month to pilot new services.
The county council has supported the charity since 2006 by providing annual funding but this was supposed to come to an end this April.
But it has now been extended until March 2014 and as a result the charity has received a further £6,500.
Cllr Kendal, deputy leader and executive member for environment and transport at the county council, said: “The county council recognises the importance of community transport and Yelabus pro-vides a valuable service by providing minibuses with drivers, for hire, to many voluntary and activity groups in Yateley and surrounding rural communities.
“The organisation is making good progress in working towards becoming more self-sufficient in the future and this is to be commended.
“To this end, our community transport team is working closely with Yelabus to recruit more volunteer drivers, through the volunteer driver recruitment campaign that we are running currently.”
Cllr Whitaker is also chairman of Yateley Neighbourcare, a voluntary car scheme that offers transport and assistance to elderly, disabled, sick and disadvantaged residents.
He said both Yelabus and Yateley Neighbourcare were short of volunteer drivers and funding.
“Most of us are likely one day to need the Yelabus and the Neighbourcare services,” Cllr Whitaker said.
“It is never too late to contribute to this ongoing task so please do what you can, when you can.”
Anyone interested in using the proposed Saturday service should call Yateley Town Council on 01252 872198.