Dear Mr Abbott
Thank you for your letter and attached petition regarding the change to the 65 bus service in Alton.
The petition refers to Hampshire County Council funding reductions but I have to advise you that the 65 is a commercial service which does not receive a subsidy from the County Council. There have been no reductions to the bus subsidy budget and the change to the 65 was a commercial decision made entirely by Stagecoach to ensure that the schedule of the route was operated reliably as the company is required to do by law.
Stagecoach has introduced a new service the 9, which runs five days a week, rather than on four days as the petition states, and links the most well-used used bus stops in Alton with four round trips a day, Monday to Friday. The 9 is a commercial service and is not funded by the County Council.
For those residents unable to use the bus service, Hampshire County Council funds the Alton Dial-a-Ride service, telephone 01420 475759. In addition, there is also a Community Care Service, telephone 01420 541520.
The changes to the 65 were not the result of any action by the County Council but I welcome the opportunity to set out the services available and the support that Hampshire County Council continues to provide for the travel needs of the residents of Alton.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond.