Council steps in to fund bus route to Butterfly Garden & airport
10th August 2017
Gloucestershire County Council has stepped in to fund a vital transport link for Cheltenham and Gloucester residents.
Last week Stagecoach announced they were withdrawing the 'F' service between Coronation Square in Cheltenham and Gloucestershire Airport due to financial losses. The change would have affected not only the airport, but around 200 people living with a disability who are supported by The Butterfly Garden charity.
Since then, officers from Gloucestershire County Council's Integrated Transport Unit have been working to find an alternative service to keep the route open.
The council has now agreed to fund a trial replacement minibus service (44) to provide connections to the Dundry Nurseries and The Butterfly Farm. The route also ensures that connections to the airport are available.
Local charity, Community Connexions will be providing the service on behalf of the county council. They offer home to school, day centre, hospital and community transport, together with community bus routes across the county for groups and individuals.
Their new service begins on Monday 14th August, meaning there will be no disruption for people using the route.
A new timetable will come into effect, with the first bus from Cheltenham leaving at 9:15am and Gloucester leaving at 10am.
A review of the service will take place in the new year to ensure it is still working for the parties involved.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member responsible for transport, said: "Since the announcement by Stagecoach we have been working to find an alternative service to cover the route served by the F bus.
"We know that it was an invaluable transport link for the local community, especially those people using the Butterfly Garden and getting to the airport.
"I'm grateful to Community Connexions for agreeing to come on board with us to provide this valuable route and glad we've been able to help keep the service running."
Paul Riddick, chief executive officer of Community Connexions, said: "I'm delighted that we've been able to step in to provide this much needed service.
"With the help of our drivers, many of whom are volunteers, we provide transport services across the county for some of the most vulnerable members of society.
"This new service will operate out of Gloucester and Cheltenham and provide transport for local residents, people getting to and from the airport and the groups that visit the Butterfly Garden."
Here at Punchline, we think this is fantastic news. Credit to the county council and Community Connexions for taking this step and to The Butterfly Garden and Gloucestershire Airport who refused to take this decision lying down and campaigned for a bus service to continue.
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