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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2006, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Villagers get 'on-demand' buses
Rural communities in County Durham are being given a transport lifeline with the launch of an on-demand bus service.

The taxi-bus will link the villages of Witton-le-Wear, Railway Cottages and Fir Tree with Crook, Howden-le-Wear and local GP surgeries.

The service, funded by Durham County Council, will operates at set times from Monday and must be pre-booked at least 30 minutes beforehand.

The previous bus service was axed because of budget cuts.

'Improved service'

There is a flat fare of 1.20 for a single journey and County Durham concessionary travel permits can be used.

The taxi-bus replaces the conventional 85 bus service, which ran from West Auckland through the villages to Crook.

Bob Pendlebury, Durham County Council cabinet member for transport and sustainability, said: "There was a great deal of disappointment when service 85 could no longer be supported because of demands on the county council's budget.

"But I'm pleased to see this replacement service being provided, which will help bring improved levels of service for passengers."

Passengers can make a booking from Monday by calling 01388 607607 from 0700 BST to midnight, seven days a week.

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