Relief for residents at launch for community bus for rural villages (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Relief for residents at launch for community bus for rural villages around Darlington
RESIDENTS living in one of Darlington’s rural villages have spoken of their delight at the launch of a new community bus service that has been many months in the planning.
The new service, dubbed Our Bus, will pick up its first passengers on Monday (September 2), connecting villages including Bishopton, Sadberge, Great Stainton, Hurworth and Neasham with Darlington town centre and a supermarket.
Commercial buses to the villages were lost on January 1 due to the loss of council subsidies, but a tireless campaign to help those left isolated by the loss of the services has finally founded a replacement.
The new bus, which has been painted green and will run the number 20 route, will operate three times a day, three times a week on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.
Mary Pugh, who has lived in Sadberge for 28 years, said the new service would be a lifeline for people without cars.
She said: “Without a bus it is like being a prisoner in your own home. It is all thanks to those who have worked so hard on our behalf.
“It’s a means of getting out of the village and getting into Darlington and having the chance to speak to other people.”
Eleanor Crowson, a Sadberge resident for 40 years, said the new service would give her the freedom to pop into town when she wanted and not have to rely on lifts.
She added: “It’s definitely a good thing for the village, there are a lot of older people here without cars.”
It is hoped that as many people as possible, including those who own cars, will use the service to keep it financially viable.
The service will use bus stops already in place and will pick up passengers at all points on the route through Darlington, not just in the villages. Pensioners can use their bus pass.
Councillors Brian Jones and Joe Kelley, who represent Sadberge and Hurworth respectively, said they were relieved and delighted that the bus is finally due to come into service.
They thanked those who had helped to set up the service, including Graeme Torrance at Scarlet Band, Sue Dobson, Jill Hutchinson and Laura Kane at Darlington Borough Council and Karen Grundy from Evolution.
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