Leicestershire and Rutland County Councils to subsidise 747 bus service between Uppingham and Leicester for a year

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Leicestershire and Rutland County Councils have agreed £60,000 of emergency funding to ensure the Leicester-Uppingham 747 bus service operates for another year.

The two authorities have announced they will subsidise the Centrebus service until January 2018.

Centrebus announced in November the service would end on January 8, 2017, saying it was no longer cost-effective to run it on a commercial basis because the passenger usage was low. But the decision left many passengers disappointed as they said it was a “vital link” between Uppingham and Leicester.

Portfolio holder for transport at Rutland County Council Tony Mathias (Con) said: “Local people who use the 747 service have told us just how important it is to them, which is why we’re working with Leicestershire to provide emergency funding that will keep the bus in operation for another 12 months.

“This will allow the communities served by the 747 to engage with Centrebus and find a more viable, long-term solution. In the meantime, we would positively encourage local people to make greater use of the 747 bus and other valued rural bus routes as an alternative to travelling by car.”

Leicestershire’s cabinet member for highways and transport Peter Osborne (Con) added: “While both councils cannot provide long-term subsidy in situations like this, we have agreed to provide emergency, one-off funding.

“This will provide time for both authorities to fully consider the alternatives and, in Leicestershire’s case, for it to be considered as part of its countywide accessibility review, which includes rural bus services in 2017/18.”

The subsidy will be £60,000: £40,000 from Leicestershire County Council and £20,000 from Rutland County Council.

During the coming year Leicestershire plan to carry out a countywide accessibility policy review of rural bus services and Rutland will consider all possible options for the future. The councils currently don’t intend to fund the service beyond January 2018.