A HAMPSHIRE bus company is to cancel a school bus route due to it being “no longer sustainable”.

Xelabus has made the decision to stop its 503 Thornden School morning service after February half-term.

The service is used by Valley Park students every day.

Firm managing director Gareth Blair confirmed that 80 pupils use the afternoon service each day, compared with the morning service, which can “struggle to reach double digits”.

One parent took to social media to complain that the company had only given three weeks notice.

Steve Hicks, deputy headteacher at the Chandler’s Ford school, said: “We received the information from Xelabus the day before we broke up for Christmas.

“We thought we sent the information out the day we came back, but we were unaware that it hadn’t been sent. We found out on Tuesday, so we sent a quick email stating about the cancellation.”

The afternoon school service will continue.

Mr Hicks, who has been at the school for just over ten years, added: “I’m not surprised that it is not a viable service, as the numbers that use it have dropped.

“We’re looking to find a solution to it, and that can’t be done in a short amount of time, but we will keep parents informed.

“We need to finish conversations with Xelabus first, before we look ahead.”

Mr Blair added: “The removal of the 503 Thornden School bus morning journey has not been taken lightly.

“We have operated this service for six years and we have seen a big decline in passenger usage. The service is therefore no longer sustainable.”

He added: “We have tried different incentives for students to use the service including low fares for a set period. We have also worked with the school to encourage increased patronage.

“We have now had no choice but to remove this service. We do apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

He told the Advertiser: “We’re not the sort of company to walk away, but we’re not breaking even.

“If we were breaking even I would continue with it for the sake of the children.”

The service stops at Barton Peveril, ASDA in Chestnut Avenue, Valley Park and Kingsway shops, before the school.