The future of the Saltash Hopper Bus is uncertain following a review of its use by the local community. Bookings have remained stubbornly low despite efforts to attract regular users and support for tailor-made day trips.
The 16 seater wheelchair accessible minibus operates on demand on routes not easily served by public transport within the PL12 area and beyond. The service has been heavily subsidised from the start, but needs to be self-funding if it is to continue.
Now CIC board members have agreed to a make-or-break push for business, to test whether there is sufficient demand to sustain a community bus in Saltash.
Marketing director Helen Neville said: ‘The Hopper has the potential to be a huge asset for the area. It could be taking youngsters from villages like Cargreen and Hatt into Livewire or the Saturday Cinema, it could be enabling pensioners and wheelchair users to get into town to shop. But so far there has been limited uptake.’
The CIC is putting together an enthusiastic team of ‘bus champions’ who will be key to matching unique Hopper journeys with passenger groups. There could be regular runs connecting PL12 villages with Saltash, tailored trips to events like Port Elliot Festival or days out off the regular public transport routes.
Helen added: ‘Money has been set aside to offer some free or very cheap seats during the trial period, and there will be extensive advertising to get the ‘Use it or Lose It’ message across. It is important people use the service and show there is a need for it to continue.’
If you would like to be a ‘bus champion’, or think the Hopper Bus could solve your transport problem get in touch on 01752 848348 or call in to 4 Fore Street to discuss your trip.