Local Labour councillor Hannah Banfield has just fulfilled her main election promise to get a bus service started again for Grimsbury after the B7 bus service was discontinued due to funding cuts of 49% to Oxfordshire County Council’s budget from the Conservative government.
Hannah Banfield said, “I have secured funding for a 12 week trial period starting 30th April to see if a Grimsbury bus service, the B7a, is viable, so I am urging all Grimsbury residents to play their part in securing this vital community service. Banbury Labour Party will leaflet details of the new service.
The trial is on weekdays only and the bus will run through the heart of old Grimsbury starting and finishing at Bridge Street, the first bus leaving at 9.15am and the last ending at Bridge Street at 4.40pm. People can use their free bus passes as usual.
Hannah Banfield continued, “The loss of the B7 Grimsbury bus was most frequent complaint on the doorstep when I was canvassing last year during the county council elections.
Many of the residents were upset and felt they had become isolated. Not everyone could afford a taxi or walk back from Town with shopping bags, and it became difficult or impossible for many people to visit their doctor or just meet up with a friend for a coffee and a chat.
When I was elected in May 2017 I asked all county councillors to work together for the good of Banbury residents. I suggested we pool our individual Locality Fund allowances to run a pilot. Councillors Mark Cherry, Keiran Mallon and Tony Ilott came on board and together we raised £12,000.
Kevyn Powell, whose company is currently operating a community bus service in Easington, will run the Grimsbury trial, but he does not receive any council subsidy.
The one big factor that might make this work is that the Community Bus Service is reimbursed 100% of concessionary bus travel by OCC, whereas Stagecoach, who originally ran the service, only received 40%. But at the end of the day people need to use it, otherwise it may be lost for ever.”