76 Evening Service Safe for the While

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On Monday 23 July, Keith Watts let it be known that the Hampshire County Council Executive member for Environment, Cllr Melville Kendal, would decide the next day to cut several bus subsidies in the county, including the removal of weekday evening services on route 76 between Andover and Basingstoke via Whitchurch and Overton.

The decision to withdraw the subsidy was taken on 24 July, which means the evening services form Monday to Saturday will most probably be withdrawn in September.

It appears that neither the County Councillor for Whitchurch or Overton attended the meeting at which the decision was taken. County Councillors from further south in the county did attend and succeeded in persuading the Executive Member to ask for further information about four routes before his decision on those is made final.

On 27 July it was revealed that Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's Portfolio Holder for Transport is likely to recommend to his cabinet colleagues that B&DBC; pay the subsidy to keep the 76 evening service running until the ned of the financial year.

The Transport and Planning Cabinet meets on Tuesday (31 July) and, by invoking emergency rules, Councillor Horace Mitchell could persuade his colleagues to take over the funding which Hampshire County Council seems determined to remove. The need to use emergency procedures emphasises the speed with which HCC has made its decision, without consultation.

new!On 31 August all members of the Transport and Planning Committee endorsed the recommendation of its Cabinet Member, Councillor Horace Mitchell, to provide the subsidy for the week day evening 76 service. The service runs between Andover and Basingstoke and serves Hurstbourne Priors, Whitchurch, Laverstoke, Overton and Deane Gate. This decision means that the servcie is safe unitl 1st April 2008. Beyond that the future is not clear.

Councillor John Maxwell, who represents Whitchurch and Hurstbourne Priors, did not seem aware of the HCC decision when contacted by email.

The services affected are

  1910 from Andover arriving Basingstoke 2005, Whitchurch 1930, Overton 1940
  2010 from Basingstoke arriving Andover 2102, Overton 2033, Whitchurch 2045
  2205 from Andover arriving Basingstoke 2300, Whitchurch 2225, Overton 2235
  2305 from Basingstoke arriving Andover 2357, Overton 2323, Whitchurch 2340S

This does not apply to the following additional Friday and Saturday services

  2040 from Andover arriving Basingstoke 2135, Whitchurch 2100, Overton 2110
  2140 from Basingstoke arriving Andover 2232, Overton 2203, Whitchurch 2215

I have emailed Cllr Melville Kendal and Whitchurch's County Councillor John Maxwell but had no reply. You can do the same by clicking on their names.

You can also send your comments using the contact page, all comments will be collected and passed on the HCC.