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Hopper bus update

June 18, 2015 11:11 PM

The uproar generated by the withdrawal of funding for the service has had an effect. WC now says the Hopper will stay until April instead of being axed this autumn. However the long term future is still uncertain.

Wiltshire Times article

Here's a message from Cllr Terry Chivers, who has been leading the campaign against chopping the hopper:

"Since the meeting of the Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board, a few weeks back, we have received a letter from the CEO of the RUH Bath Trust. He assures us that as a result of this meeting; his organisation, the Wiltshire GPs and Wiltshire Council are all working closely together and remains "confident that the service will be maintained".

There has also been feedback from local MPs, noting that they have been lobbied by their constituents. They say they will shortly be meeting with Jane Scott, Leader of Wiltshire Council, to get the matter resolved. All this is very well, but the anxiety amongst many regular Hopper users remains. Daily we are being asked what is going to happen come this October; when the Hopper funding officially ceases. We are still receiving additional names on the "Save the RUH Hopper" petition. Last week a lady came to us with over fifty names she had personally collected.

Clearly the onus is now on those holding the purse strings to make a categorical public statement that the Hopper service will definitely continue. The time for promises and brinkmanship has passed. Local people deserve a full, open and public commitment to the continuance of the vital RUH Hopper service."

And here's a statement from WC:

"Funding has been secured to keep the current Royal United Hospital Hopper Bus service running until April 2016.

Money from the Better Care Fund will be used to ensure the current service remains until the end of this financial year, while Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group continue to work together to develop a more financially sustainable service from 1 April 2016.

Later this year there will be a full consultation on what an amended service could look like after 1 April. All comments received during the consultation period will be taken into consideration before a decision is made on how the service will operate from that date. More information on the consultation will be available in the near future.

The budget at full council in February said we would reduce the subsidy on this service and work with our partners to ensure it is maintained.

We will continue to work with our partners to make further progress with the aim of enabling a sustainable service in the future for people who really need it.

The service currently costs the council £10.65 per passenger per trip for the RUH service."