A COUNCILLOR is urging residents to “use it or lose it” over a reduced bus fare trial scheme which has now been extended.

The trial sees First Bus offering a £1 adult single and a 50p child single (both each way) on services between Upton and Tunnel Hill and it is hoped that this will keep regular services running.

Martin Allen, the Malvern Hills District Council councillor who secured the trial, has now persuaded the bus company to extended it until May.

Cllr Allen said: “We’ve not had many people use it so far.

“I called for the trial when I became aware of residents from Tunnel Hill not being able to walk into town.

“And the full cost of fares was too much for many of them.

“I’m urging residents to use the bus more and show First Bus there is a demand for the service.

“There’s only three months left of the trial, which will now end in May.

“Public transport is more environmentally friendly than using cars.

“”We do need more buses, particularly as there’s a climate emergency.”

Buses in Upton have been struggling for some time, with councillors on both the town and district councils warning of a “use it or lose it” scenario.

In 2018, bus services to rural areas of the county were given a reprieve after meetings between district councillor Tom Wells and the managing director of First Buses, Nigel Eggleton.

The 363 Upton to Worcester bus was saved after changes were made to its timetable meaning it would operate at more urgent times of the day.

Rob Hughes, head of operations at First Worcester said: “Prior to the trial reduction in the adult and child fares as supported by local councillors, we were only carrying six people per week between Upton on Severn and Tunnel Hill.

“This number over the last couple of months has now increased to nine, which is still very disappointing and not sustainable.

“We strongly encourage people to consider supporting their local bus service, before a decision is made regarding its future.”