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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
End for rural buses phone scheme
Phone and Go bus
The Phone and Go buses have been running for three years
A pioneering buses-on-demand scheme for rural areas has reached the end of the road after running out of funding.

The red buses have been running in parts of Northumberland under the Phone and Go scheme for the last three years.

The system aimed to offer a fresh solution to the ongoing problem of rural transport.

Northumberland County Council said government funding for the pilot scheme stopped earlier this year and they were not being used enough.

John Hodgson, from the council, said there just were not enough people to make the service work.

The service started three years ago with two services, in Allendale and Amble.

'Wonderful service'

Mr Hodgson said: "The idea being that we would provide a flexible service for elderly people with disabilities and generally try and get greater flexibility into the transport system in rural areas.

"Unfortunately it just hasn't worked out."

He added: "We have found that the numbers haven't grown in the way we would want them to increase and we have come to the point now where we cannot afford to run the service any more."

The money ran out in March and the council tried to keep it going, but the cost is too great.

Mr Hodgson said they were working with other transport operators to try to provide alternative services.

Enid McKay, from Amble, who has been a regular user of the service, said: "It has been a wonderful, wonderful service."

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