Community bus service funded by council

Just the ticket: Penistone's community bus will add choice to commercial services like this.
Just the ticket: Penistone's community bus will add choice to commercial services like this.
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Councillors have put £20,000 into supporting a community bus service for 12 months in an attempt to reduce isolation for those living in remote villages after conventional services were slashed.

A trial was carried out for a circular service from Penistone, Barnsley, taking a circular route to link up surrounding villages on weekdays.

That proved popular enough for Penistone Area Council, a body made up of the ward councillors who represent the district, to pump in £20,000 of their budget to support the service for a full year.

The bus is a small vehicle, operated by South Pennine Community Transport and takes a route which includes Millhouse Green, which was hit especially badly by reduced services, as well as many other villages.

Problems emerged several years ago when a company called Tates Travel ran services on a traditional commercial basis, but eventually collapsed following an extended period of reliability problems.

In the short term, other operators stepped in to plug the gaps they had left – supported with cash from South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to subsidise the non-profit making routes.

However, that was unsustainable because it absorbed too much of the executive’s budget and the timetables were redrawn around 18 months ago.

Trials with new service were introduced and there were no competition problems with commercial operators in the area, so the area council made the decision to support the service for another year.