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New bus services for Tewkesbury

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: March 27, 2012

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TWO new community transport schemes will start in Tewkesbury borough at the beginning of April.

And county council bosses say they will give residents easier and more frequent journeys than the subsidised bus services that they will replace.

As part of the council's plan to save £2 million by 2013, many of its subsidised services in Gloucestershire are being altered or reduced.

But Shire Hall says five services in the borough that will end on March 31 will be replaced by two new community schemes.

From Monday, the Tewkesbury Community Connector community transport service will replace the 526, 528 and 543 subsidised bus services.

It will provide more frequent journeys to Tewkesbury, Evesham, Bishop's Cleeve and Cheltenham from villages near Tewkesbury, such as Alderton, Great Washbourne and Teddington.

Then from Wednesday, April 4, the Rural Rover community transport service will replace the 525 and 652 subsidised bus services.

The new service will run weekly on a Wednesday and Thursday to Cheltenham and provide connections at Uckington for villages near Tewkesbury, including Stoke Orchard and Tredington.

Both services will be operated by the Gloucestershire charity Third Sector Services, which connects communities through transport and volunteering, in partnership with the county council.

Councillor Chas Fellows, the council's cabinet member for environment and economy, said: "In rural areas particularly, there is not enough demand for a traditional timetabled service but there is still a need for some form of transport to help people get around.

"Community transport can fill that gap and provide a more appropriate and sustainable service.

"I hope that local people find a real benefit from the new services as they will provide them with easier and more frequent journeys to the places they need to get to."

Gareth Blackett, the charity's deputy chief executive, said: "The success of our first community bus route in Cheltenham, the V Service, has exceeded all expectations in terms of passenger numbers and the support we have received from the local community."

Members of the public will have to book the new services in advance by ringing the Third Sector Services on 0845 680 5029.

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