Hoppa’s new community bus has arrived on schedule and gone straight into service thanks to generous donations and sponsorship from local businesses, organisations and individuals.
Supporters and friends of hoppa recently gathered outside the offices of Farnham Town Council in South Street for the official unveiling of the brand new bus, which will serve people who live in the Farnham area.
It was a year ago that hoppa revealed how demand for the community bus service in Farnham was exceeding its current capacity. In response, the then Town Mayor suggested hoppa launched a fundraising appeal to raise over £30,000, which is what was needed to buy a new bus.
Iain Lynch, Town Clerk at Farnham Town Council, said: “Around a third of all hoppa’s passenger trips take place in and around Farnham so we know just how vital hoppa is to our residents. By picking people up from their front door, the demand responsive service allows residents who do not have access to transport to maintain their independence for longer. The Town Council has always been proud to be a funder of hoppa and we are also delighted that the town’s community, through businesses, voluntary groups and individuals, rose to the challenge and helped hoppa to buy the new bus.”
At the unveiling, Steve Forward, general manager of Hoppa, welcomed guests, which included many of the local businesses and groups who donated to the appeal.
Meg Daniels from the Farnham Institute, one of the local community organisations which generously supported the bus appeal, had the special honour of cutting the ribbon: an act which officially marked the bus as being ready for service.
Hoppa trustee, Andrew Boughton says: “I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the many supporters of Farnham hoppa who have given so generously and have supported the fundraising appeal over the past 12 months.”
At the unveiling, Andrew Boughton talked about how the perception of Farnham as an affluent town disguises the essential services hoppa provides in putting on affordable, convenient and accessible transport used by many local residents who would otherwise be prevented from shopping in the town, getting to medical appointments or making social visits.
Speaking after the launch, Pam Quilter from the Farnham Lions said: “Our focus is to help and serve our local community and so supporting the purchase of a new bus for some of the most vulnerable people in our community is both tangible and positive. We are delighted to see the bus on the road and in service and hope that many people will both enjoy and benefit from it.”
Donations for the bus were given by Farnham Town Council which donated a third of the money, Waverley Borough Council, Surrey County Council (Councillor contribution), the Lions Club of Farnham, Farnham Institute Charity, The Hedgehogs, Bob and Pat Frost from BBS Ltd, hoppa customers, the Bourne Show and digi.me.
The new bus has gone immediately into service and can be used by anybody who has difficulty accessing other forms of transport. To benefit from the convenient and secure service that picks up passengers from their front door and takes them to their destination, customers simply need to register their details with hoppa. Further information and an online form is available at www.hoppa.org.uk or call hoppa direct on 01428 681701.