A new weekly bus service in the run-up to Christmas could make shopping easier for people living in rural areas and give Oakham a boost.
From Wednesday, shoppers from 26 county villages will be able to use the special service to get to and from Oakham every Wednesday, until December 18.
The CallConnect bus is an on-demand service where the route is determined by bookings made by passengers.
It is aimed at villages which have no bus services including Ridlington and Seaton.
Rutland County Council’s cabinet member for transport Coun Martyn Pocock (Con) said: “The opportunity has arisen to provide this bus service, at no cost to the council, for the two months before Christmas.
“We’re hoping it will be popular.”
Riddlington has not had a bus service for four years.Parish clerk Christopher Lee said: “As we have no bus service, people rely on their cars or taxis or on their neighbours for transport.
“We have many elderly people in the village who would welcome the service.”
John Hill, Seaton Parish Council clerk, said: “The bus service will prove extremely useful, specially around Christmas.
“If they can make it work, and if the service is reliable, then it will be good. Public transport is always a good idea.”
Alf Dewis, chairman of Oakham Town Partnership which works to promote the town, said: “We’re very keen to see better bus links to and from Oakham as it can only help the town’s economy.
“Public transport in Oakham needs to improve.The county council’s Shore-link service between Oakham, Rutland Water, Manton and Uppingham has improved connectivity.
“A new service that can bring people into the town and transport them back is good.”
The CallConnect (Oakham) bus will arrive in town each Wednesday at 10.20am, 11.20am, 12.50pm and 1.50pm with return services bookable for 10.20am, 12.50pm and 1.50pm.
The circular route will depend on journey requests booked in advance by phone, text or via theiInternet.
Drop off and pick up points are at the town’s Market Place and John Street interchange until November 11 and after that in Catmos Street.
For details visit www.rutland.gov.uk and to book call 0845 263 8153 or text the word CallConnect to 82727.
The service’s route includes Aldgate, Barrowden, Belton, Bisbrooke, Braunston, Brooke, Edith Weston, Egleton, Geeston, Glaston, Gunthorpe, Ketton, Lyndon, Manton, Morcott, Normanton, North Luffenham, Ridlington, Seaton, South Luffenham, Tixover, Tixover Grange, Upper Hambleton, Wing, Wardley