MORE passengers than ever are using a community bus service after villagers raised funds for a new vehicle.

OurBus Bartons launched 'Bella', the latest addition to its fleet, earlier this year, after campaigning for cash throughout 2018.

In March, the West Oxfordshire transport provider experienced its highest number of passengers ever, with the number still rising 'month by month'.

Ken Caldwell, chair of the management team, said: "It has given our operation a new lease of life and is a resounding endorsement of everything we have achieved with volunteers.

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He added: “The new bus has an electric tail lift and air-conditioning which has already encouraged more passengers to travel with us."

Mr Caldwell thanked the 'major donors' to the new bus, including The Garfield Weston Anniversary Fund, local organisations and Oxfordshire County Council leader, Ian Hudspeth, who donated part of his councillor priority fund.

One resident, Helen Christie, ran last year's Oxford Half Marathon in aid of the new bus.

OurBus Bartons has three vehicles, with Middle Barton Primary School using one vehicle during term-time.

The bus service's AGM takes place at Middle Barton Sports and Social Club on Sunday from 2pm.