BUS SERVICES to help the most vulnerable get into Abingdon could return following a £30,000 funding pledge from the town council.

The authority has committed as part of its budget for 2018/19 to put the money towards trying to restore services cut over the past two years, which include services between Oxford, Abingdon and surrounding villages.

Council leader Mike Badcock said: “Buses to bring people into town were popular, especially with vulnerable people such as the elderly and young mums who have no other way of getting around.

“What we want to do is talk to the bus companies to see if there is a way to restart some of these services and bring them back into operation by subsidising the less profitable services.

“I think this is something that would be greatly appreciated by many people who used to rely on these services.”

In July the 41, linking Caldecott with the town centre and Fairacre retail park and the 114, which links Berinsfield and Dorchester with Abingdon, were cut by Thames Travel.

At the time, Thames Travel said the routes were unsustainable without a subsidy from the county council, removed as part of wide ranging cuts across Oxfordshire by the authority.

In 2016 the 44 service linking the villages of Bayworth, Boars Hill and Sunningwell with Oxford and Abingdon was also removed.

Villagers raised concerns they would be isolated, with Maggie Rouse, of Quarry Road, Bayworth, calling the service a 'lifeline' route into Abingdon.

It followed the decision by Oxfordshire County Council in 2016 to withdraw all funding for bus services that it had previously subsidised, other than those linked to funding from new housing developments.

For 12 months Thames Travel continued to operate some services without subsidy but things came to a head in July when the bus company revealed many services continued to operate at a ‘substantial loss’ and would be scrapped.

At the time, managing director of Thames Travel Phil Southall said: “After the withdrawal of these subsidies in July 2016 we took a considerable risk with many services, amending them to improve efficiency in the hope of maintaining them.

“Unfortunately after nearly a year, some of these services are still operating at a substantial loss which we regrettably cannot continue to absorb.”