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urgent bid to save Eastleigh 'lifeline' bus service
CAMPAIGNERS are holding a public meeting in a bid to save a “lifeline” bus route through a Hampshire community.
The decision comes a year after the family-run firm stepped in to rescue the link when previous provider Velvet Service C3 withdrew.
The hourly bus link, which also takes in Fleming Park and Boyatt Wood, will come to an end on Christmas Eve.
Concerned passengers are being urged to attend a meeting to help find a way to save the service from the brink once again.
Campaign organiser Julie Rowe told the Daily Echo: “This meeting is a chance for people to have their say.
“We are just trying to figure out if there is any way that we can keep some form of service going, even if it is scaled back.
“A lot of people are upset about the idea of us losing it. There are quite a few vulnerable and elderly people who rely on the bus service – it’s a lifeline for them.”
Xelabus commercial director Philip Blair said there had been “very low useage” and the service frequency had been reduced in stages to try to suit demand.
He added: “We do not receive any subsidies at all for the X3 and we had hoped trade would have been sufficient to retain an hourly link throughout the day Monday to Saturday.
“However, Saturdays were exceptionally low use and we trimmed the service back to Monday to Friday to ensure a shopper link could be provided.
“Use has still remained very low and it has been with much regret that a decision has been made to remove the remaining service with the last day being Christmas Eve. The service simply does not cover its operating costs.
“We are very sorry we have had to make this decision but residents living at Valley Park do still have the Valley Park Carshare service to allow them to make shopping and essential journeys.
The campaign meeting takes place at the Cleveland Bay pub and restaurant in Pilgrims Close, Chandler’s Ford on Thursday at 7pm.