PARISH councils could band together and create a community bus service to stop teen-agers being “trapped” in rural villages.

Hanborough Parish Council has approached Freeland, North Leigh and Bladon councils to run the late-night service to Witney.

At the moment the last 242 bus leaves Witney at 6.10pm Monday to Friday and 6.05pm on Saturdays.

There is no Sunday or bank holiday service.

Stagecoach , which runs the service, is already subsidised by Oxfordshire County Council during the day because the route is not profitable.

Although a final plan has not yet been decided, Hanborough Parish Council hopes to run a non-profit service until 10pm or 11pm.

Hanborough Parish Council vice chairman John Edwards said: “With a cinema in Witney I felt it was time that the 242 was extended into the evening.

“Young people are trapped in the village unless their parents are willing to take them back and forth.

“We are now trying to get the co-operation of the other parish councils on the route to create the service.”

But Mr Edwards said the idea was still in its “embryonic” stage and the concept would be fleshed out at a parish council meeting on August 14.

Toby Morris, West Oxfordshire District Council member for Freeland and Hanborough, said: “It is an absolutely fantastic idea and I hope it works.

“The bus service to the villages has always been what I would consider poor.

“Witney now has a cinema and other forms of entertainment yet the teenagers from all the villagers have no way to get to Witney unless their parents drive them.”

Rodney Rose, county council cabinet member for transport, said: “I am fully in support and hope they raise the money for it.

“The council subsidises rural transport to make sure people can get to shops and doctors, but it is not really to compensate for lack of social transport.

“It is a case of prioritising what to spend and there are better areas.”

He said County Hall subsidises rural transport services across Oxfordshire to the tune of £4m to help alleviate isolation.

Stagecoach Oxfordshire spokesman Robert Williams said: “We provide the 242 service under contract from Oxfordshire County Council.

“The patronage is not enough to cover the costs in the day time and for that reason we think it is unlikely an evening service would cover its costs.

“Therefore it is down to the county council to provide a service if they want one.”

But Mr Williams welcomed the community bus plan and left the door open for potentially taking on the service in the future.

He said: “We would be willing to look at any commercial opportunity and we are happy to be proved wrong. “We will wait and see what happens.”