How much do you want your town bus to stay?
RESIDENTS' views are being sought in an attempt to prove the need for public transport in Cullompton.
It is hoped the surveys will gain the evidence needed to demonstrate to the authorities that a bus service between housing estates and the town centre is vital for many.
Housing developer David Wilson Homes has provided around £240,000 to subsidise the existing bus service. But that cash will run out in 2015.
Terry Snow, chairman of Cullompton Transport Focus Group which is running the surveys, said the data will be sent to Mid Devon District Council and Devon County Council.
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Mr Snow, who is also a district councillor for the town, said: "We may be able to persuade councils to provide some funding, but we need to check whether people will support such a service."
The circular town bus service was launched after Tesco agreed to back it for three years by pledging £150,000 in October 2008, as part of a condition to develop its store at Station Road.
Ever since, transport campaigners have battled to find the cash to continue the service.
Mid Devon District Council and Dartline, which owns the vehicle, have both invested in keeping the bus running during times of uncertainty.
Mr Snow said the bus was used the most in August 2011, when it had 3,479 fares in that month alone.
Figures were at a low in September 2012 at 1,341 but they climbed to 1,729 in December.
Mr Snow, who said the survey will also help shape future routes, added: "The survey is important because in December, only £30 was taken in fares for the whole month, as most of the passengers were bus pass-holders. That means more older people are using it, so it is necessary to keep it going for them – but we need to establish whether people will support it."
The survey will ask people how often they use the town bus, at what times and for what purpose, as well as their ages and addresses to gauge which neighbourhoods rely on it the most.
A second survey is also being run to find out whether a 'community bus' – shared by groups like the scouts, girl guides and sport clubs for example – would also be beneficial.
Mr Snow added: "This is a great opportunity for the community to potentially own its own minibus. Fuel costs are continually rising and if clubs can share one vehicle, everyone gains. Please tell us your views."
This questionnaire will take around five minutes to complete at www.surveymonkey.com/s/CullTownBus.
Community groups may also take part at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/Community-minibus. Paper versions are also available from Cullompton Town Hall.