A BOROUGH councillor who fought to preserve public transport links says “we got there in the end” after Hampshire County Council (HCC) agreed to amend its revised service.

The authority has agreed to amend its taxishare service which was introduced after the number two bus route, via Vigo Road, Corunna Main and Pilgrim’s Way, ceased to operate last month.

Initially the taxishare service did not service Pilgrim’s Way, while its timetable also meant that users would have to remain in town for a minimum of two and a half hours before they could be picked up.

But now the route has been extended to service Pilgrim’s Way and the timetable has been amended to reduce the minimum wait time.

Test Valley Borough Councillor Iris Andersen said she has been negotiating with both HCC and Stagecoach in recent weeks and had positive words for both parties.

“We got there in the end,” said Cllr Andersen.

“Hampshire County Council worked with me, they were really brilliant, and the bus station manager – we all worked together. And I know it’s not what they [the residents] are looking for, but this is the start.

“There wasn’t anything in place so this is something good that we have achieved.”

She added: “I went in there three times and worked with HCC and Stagecoach.

“They could have said, ‘sorry, that’s all we are giving you,’ but they didn’t. They worked with me three times making three lots of timetables. They could have just thrown the book at me but they didn’t.”

The taxishare service is described by HCC as “similar to a bus service, except that passengers will need to book in advance and the journey will be operated by a taxi instead of a bus”.

The new arrangement will feature three ‘outgoing’ journeys and three ‘return’ journeys. Outgoing journeys leave Tesco Extra at 9.45am, midday and 2.15pm, arriving at Andover Bus station 15 minutes after departure. Return journeys run from the bus station back to Tesco at 11.30am, 1.45pm and 4pm.

All journeys will make stops at Vigo Road, Corunna Main and Pilgrim’s Way.

Cllr Andersen admits that this means fewer stops than the old bus service, but notes that HCC can make arrangements for those in need.

She said: “They have to ring that number to book for the taxishare service, and if they have got mobility issues they can tell them that and they will pick them up from their home.

“You can’t have it fairer than that can you?”

“They do take pushchairs and they do take fold away wheelchairs, so I don’t think we could have it any better.”

Cllr Andersen says she is optimistic about the service having seen similar arrangements are in place in Eastleigh, Winchester, West Hampshire and Stockbridge. She notes that one user has already spoken of how “the service is working very well” and its operators have been “polite and helpful”.

To book the service or for more information call 01962 846786.