VOCA bus won't be along soon!

Sunday 26th September 2021 11:12 am
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an ’on-demand travel and transport service’ is not going to be arriving any time soon in Bordon.

The Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company has been working on plans for the service, called VOCA, since June last year.

It is seen as a subsidised taxi service for residents and workers, serving destinations inside a five-mile radius of the town, including stations, shopping centres, surgeries and schools, plus the Basingstoke & North Hampshire Hospital.

This ’competitively priced’ not-for-profit service would run from 6am to midnight.

The East Hampshire District Council website whitehillbordon.com/transport/ website still says: "We expect the service to be operational in spring 2021."

But as yet there is no sign of it - and as Hampshire County Council funding is wanted it could be a long wait.

Whitehill Town Council leader Cllr Andy Tree met Hampshire’s deputy leader Cllr Rob Humby and county transport officers on September 2.

Cllr Tree said: "I understand VOCA currently requires Hampshire County Council funding.

"But Cllr Humby has concluded a ’pause and careful consideration’ of this initiative is crucial’.

"Any suggestion that VOCA was a done deal, or imminently coming, has been grossly exaggerated.

"However, I am told that saying ’VOCA is dead’ would be over the top at this stage.

"I will always fight for fair public transport for Whitehill, Bordon and Lindford, and remain utterly dismayed we do not have a train station or any proper rail link bus."

For VOCA to have a chance of county council funding, it would need a developer’s financial contribution, sufficient demand, alteration of county transport strategies and proof it would complement rather than undermine existing bus services.

Also those behind VOCA would have to tender against other companies interested in running such a scheme.

In his county election campaign, East Hampshire district councillor Phillip Davies backed VOCA to help tackle climate change.

At Whitehill Town Council’s full council meeting last Thursday he said: "VOCA is still very much on, it will continue with or without county funding.

"It’s a climate change issue rather than a transport one."

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