A BUS service launched to provide a lifeline to stranded villagers is changing its route.
The number 65 service runs three times a day on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays between the villages of Elwick and Dalton Piercy and Hartlepool town centre.
Operator Paul’s Travel is changing the route that the service takes from Monday, May 20 to include residents at Hartfields retirement village, on the Bishop Cuthbert estate.
But the changes mean the service will no longer pick up in Egerton Road in the West Park area of town, which operators say will affect about four people.
It is hoped the changes will make the service more sustainable.
Sue Little, who runs Paul’s Travel with husband Paul, said: “We hope that by changing the route we will get more people using the service from Hartfields but we can also pick people up from Bishop Cuthbert as well.
“This will hopefully make the service more sustainable, it has to work for the village’s sake.”
Elwick Parish Council and Hartfields will be helping to subsidise the bus service.
The bus service starts at 9.15am from Elwick, before driving to Dalton Piercy and then along a route including Merlin Way, Hartfields, Ryehill Gardens, Victoria Road, Maritime Avenue, Mainsforth Terrace and Stockton Street.
Buses also leave Elwick at 11.15am and 1.15pm and the last bus to leave town is at 2.30pm.
Elwick and Dalton Piercy were hardest hit after bus companies axed daytime and evening services as a result of Hartlepool Borough Council removing its £287,000 supported bus services funding in 2011.
Bus companies said the routes were not viable to run, but it left villagers without public transport.
That led to Paul’s Travel stepping in to provide a temporary pilot service using a 16-seater bus which was then secured on a full-time basis after the firm secured the relevant licenses.
Speaking at the time, village representatives described the service as a “lifeline”, particularly for older residents.
Concessions can use their free passes.
For ticket fares and timetable information call Paul’s Travel on (01429) 236360.