Henley Town Council is moving forward on the selection of a new provider for the Henley Town Bus Service.
The move comes following the decision by the bus service operator, Reading Buses – who took over the routes 151, 152, and 153 in August 2018 – to withdraw from the contract to run the service. Whilst the service was successful, and passenger numbers were as predicted when Reading Buses took on the contract in August 2018, they have reviewed a number of routes and decided to stop the Henley service.
The contract was published on the Contracts Finder website and Official Journal of the European Union in the spring of 2020. The coronavirus pandemic led to the suspension of the service in April and the contract with Reading Buses has now ended. Discussions are in place with an alternative service provider and the Council hopes to commission a new service to be in place once the threat from coronavirus is greatly reduced.
The service is not profit-making and is supported through housing developer financial contributions and subsidy from Henley Town Council, which has been supporting the routes since Oxfordshire County Council removed all its bus subsidies as a cost-cutting measure in 2016.
When the details of the new service are agreed the Council will issue another statement.
Town Councillor, Stefan Gawrysiak, said: “We are determined to continue a community bus service for Henley. We realise that this bus serves many members and sections of our community. It is also a contribution to improvement of air quality in Henley. We can wholeheartedly thank Reading Buses for their service over the past 2 years. Their service has been reliable, exemplary and the drivers were always helpful, courteous and polite.”