Funding given to save bus service

A Centrebus which will run on the 747 service
A Centrebus which will run on the 747 service

Emergency funding of £50,000 has been put in place to allow an under threat bus service to run for another year.

Operators Centrebus planned to scrap its 747 service which runs between Uppingham and Leicester.

It picks up passengers in Belton, Wardley, Houghton-on-the-Hill, Billesdon and attractions including Humberstone Park, Leicestershire.

Centrebus claimed the service was no longer cost effective and was to halt it in January.

Now Rutland County Council and Leicestershire County Council have provided funding to keep the service until January 2019.

The extension will allow users to talk with Centrebus to look into ways of sustaining the service long-term without the need for subsidies.

Coun Tony Mathias (Con), leader of the Rutland County Council and portfolio holder for transport, said: “Communities in Leicestershire and Rutland have spent considerable time working with the councils and Centrebus to build patronage on the 
747.

“Although they are yet to find a viable long-term solution, we have agreed to continue funding the service temporarily, while we carry out a wider review of local transport in our area.

“In the meantime, I would encourage local people to carry on making use of the 747 bus and other rural bus routes wherever possible.”

Leicestershire County Council will contribute £33,000 of the funding and Rutland County Council £17,000.

The amount given by the two authorities is less than was needed to run the 747 service during 2016-17.

Councillor Pam Posnett, Leicestershire County Council’s cabinet member for passenger transport, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to secure the 747 bus service for at least another year.

“While both councils cannot commit to providing long-term subsidy, it gives us enough time to explore other options in the future.”

Bijel Mistry, Centrebus commercial manager, said: “We are pleased that the 747 will be continuing.

“We have been working in partnership with the councils and the local community to try and build on patronage and revenue on the route for the past 12 months, and will continue to do so going forward.”

Ron Simpson, director and secretary of community partnership Uppingham First said: “Good news! Well done to all who have supported the service.”