Bus Steering Group has first meeting
Alton Eastbrooke & Wooteys Residents' Association
The “steering group” determined to try to press ahead despite the failure to attract any volunteer bus drivers. Community First told us that to run a service with paid drivers requires Community First to register the route. This process takes 56 days and Community First can do this. Minor changes to the route can be registered simply as required. Lynne therefore took away our proposed route (Gilmour Gardens, Wooteys Way, Linnetts way, Edward Road, Nursery Road, Health Centre, Station/Waitrose, Normandy Street, High Street, possibly Sainsburys, Ashdell Road, Mill Lane, Aldi, Anstey Road, Anstey Lane, Geales Crescent, Manor Way, Gilmour Gardens) to start this process. To minimise the risk/cost, we proposed to try initially for 4 round trips (each taking an hour) on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, and to run this for a 3 month evaluation period. We could then increase or reduce this according to demand. The cost of hiring the bus/driver would be £60 for a 4 hour session. We are optimistic about securing corporate sponsorship and grants to cover part of this cost and we could charge a small fare (say £1 per journey). We would not be able to accept bus passes however because of Hampshire County Council policy. If this goes ahead we will need quite a bit of publicity – say another door to door drop of the timetable along the route.
More immediately we thought it a good idea to provide a free bus service on Sunday December 2nd in connection with the Yuletide festival. This would have to be run under Community First’s private hire arrangements and volunteer driver. The hire would cost £38 for 4 hours and Paula is happy to drive for the day. We have checked with the Town Clerk that Normandy Street and Church Lane will remain open. The route would probably be based on the existing 9 route, but obviously leaving out High Street/Turk Street/Draymans way as they are closed. We could run about every 20 minutes round the remaining part of the route. We would have to rely on social media and perhaps the local press for publicity as time is very short. Paula is also happy to pay for her driver training. Cllr Saunders is happy to pay the hire fee from his EHDC councillor allowances. The free service could also be used as a platform to advertise our plans for the new year. It will be assessed at the Residents Association meeting on December 3rd.
Find Alton Eastbrooke & Wooteys Residents' Association
11 Geales Crescent, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 2ND