Community bus could have long-term future supporting commercial services in Penistone
Talks aimed at securing the future of a popular rural bus service for Penistone and surrounding Barnsley villages, set up and operated with council funding, are still continuing as current finances are on the point of drying up.
The Penistone local link service was established more than a year ago to provide a circular bus service from Penistone through surrounding villages hit by reduced services following the collapse of commercial operator Tates Travel.
Funding for the project was provided by Penistone Area Council, a subsidiary of Barnsley Council with a budget to be spent on improving the district for residents.
The service, operated by the South Pennine Community Bus organisation, has been deemed a success in providing improved links for residents who would have otherwise had problems getting between their homes and other locations in the area.
But the objective was always that the service should not rely on Area Council cash long-term, though an initial year’s funding was extended by another six months.
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Councillors have been told talks between South Pennine and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, which provides money to subsidise some bus services, were ongoing.
Discussions have also been taking place with businesses in the area, in the hope of securing sponsorship.
That is likely to progress into the summer and the councillors have suggested that South Pennine apply for assistance from their grants fund, an alternative form of financial support, to help bridge the gap while they work to get external funding in place.
A full report on the future of the service is expected when the Area Council next meets, in June.