At the Town & Community Committee meeting last week, members voted to recommend that Henley Town Council continue to fund the local bus services run by White Coaches for another six months from July 2017 to give more time for the long term commercial position to be considered.
The proposal will be put forward to the Finance and Strategy Committee on 18 April when it will discussed and whether funds can be drawn from the Community Infrastructure Levy. This will need final approval from the Full Council on 3 May.
A survey taken during the the free bus week last month which saw a slight increase in passengers showed:
- 82 passengers over the day, typically 4 to 5 per trip
- Approximately 80% were concessionary fares
- 151 is the most popular route (Greys Road, Valley Road, Elizabeth Road), the least popular is 153
- Most passengers felt the service was vital for them, the alternative is a taxi that costs £5 each way or walking. For many the hills make this difficult
- The Market Place, Tesco and Greys Road shops are the most used stops.
- The hospital was the most asked for additional stop
- Two thirds of passengers said they would like the service to run for longer hours
- Nearly all (88%) said they would like a Saturday service.
At last month’s Bus Working Group meeting, they looked at four options presented by HTP Consulting which looked at retaining the existing service, extending the 151 service to take in Townlands Memorial Hospital and creating a new 155 route which would operate longer hours 7am-7pm and include stops at the hospital and Henley Railway Station.