Since last year, Sarah Horton, who runs the 'Don't Cut Buses in Fleet and Church Crookham' Campaign has been tirelessly fighting to get her local buses reinstated. Sarah has very kindly written a guest blog about her campaign here...
Last December Fleet and Church Crookham learned that we were to lose our only bus to the local hospital and the one to Aldershot. It was to leave us with just one hourly service that went between Reading and Farnborough and skipped out huge swathes of Fleet. Amongst all of the bus users it hit elderly people, students and commuters hardest. It was a result of Hampshire County Council cutting subsidies to public buses in our town.
So the campaign ‘Don’t Cut Buses in Fleet and Church Crookham’ was born. We made a huge effort to alert people that they were to lose their buses over the Christmas holidays. We launched a petition and over two thousand people signed it. It was presented to Hampshire County Council at the Full Council Annual Budget meeting in February. I made a statement to all members and described in detail the affect the bus cuts in Fleet were having on local people but it did not affect their budget decision.
Countless letters and emails were sent by local residents to Councillors, the bus company, our MP hoping for a change of mind.
The issue of getting to the hospital was most acutely demonstrated when I, along with Martin Abrams accompanied a young woman who uses a wheelchair. You can read Martin’s story board of the journey here: Steph issued a challenge to Hampshire County Council asking them to come along on her journey to experience it first hand.
In April we held a noisy rally in Fleet in support of getting our buses back. Around 200 people attended. Stagecoach came with a bus and launched a community survey. We ensured that as many people as possible knew about the survey.
Just days before our trip to the hospital, Hampshire County Council asked to postpone our trip as they had good news….
The good news
Subject to confirmation we are to get our bus back to Aldershot. Hooray! We will also have a twice hourly service to Farnborough that will go around some of the estates in Fleet. Also hooray! Some parts of the town which did not a bus will once again have one. This is splendid news!
The bad news
There will still be some areas in our town without a bus. Some people will still require three buses to get to the hospital, with the first bus being hourly. This journey still looks to be too lengthy and complex for anyone who is unwell, or infirm to negotiate. The number one request from passengers is for a direct bus to the hospital.
The uncertain news
There are still many details to be explained. These will be learned in July when the routes are set in stone. As funding has had to be rejigged we don’t yet know what the implications are for other services, nor do we know which areas still won’t have a bus. We need to be patient a little longer.
Please visit and LIKE Sarah's Facebook page for more information