Saturday, 21 October 2017

Village could hire council Comet after loss of bus service

A DIAL-a-ride service could be introduced in Checkendon to make up for the loss of its

A DIAL-a-ride service could be introduced in Checkendon to make up for the loss of its regular bus.

Whites Coaches’ 145 used to call at the village on its journey between Woodcote and Henley but last month the company axed the route after Oxfordshire County Council withdrew all its bus subsidies.

Checkendon Parish Council contacted the council because it was concerned about a small number of elderly residents who used to depend on the service to travel to Woodcote for grocery shopping. Now the county council has offered to allocate its Comet minibus to the village.

This is available to communities with no access to public transport and would cost about £40 per day, or £2,080 a year if it visited once a week.

The parish council, a charity or private individuals could subsidise the service directly.



Passengers could book their journeys in advance and would pay a small fare to help offset costs such as 75p a mile or £1.50 per mile if they wanted to travel at a specific time.

Checkendon parish clerk Claire Dunk said councillors would discuss the matter at their meeting next month.

She said: “It’s still in the very early stages. We have to see if we have the finances to afford it. There’s also a logistical problem because you’d need to buy tickets in advance and there’s nowhere left in the village that could sell them.”

The village shop and post office closed in February. David Nimmo Smith, the county council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “It’s early days but it shows what parishes are looking at if they want their village to continue to be sustainable. 

“Checkendon has lost its shop and post office in the last year, the Four Horseshoes pub is likely to be fully converted to accommodation and even more large properties are being built for incomers, leaving long-term locals feeling increasingly isolated.”



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