BUS and rail services face an uncertain future with their fate resting on decisions being taken in the next few weeks.

Public transport operators together with local county and district councillors are now being invited by the Vale Public Transport Group (VPTG) to public meetings in Pershore Town Hall to discuss the future and ways forward on Wednesday, June 20 at 4.30pm and 7pm.

Early success for a range of new village bus services - the Fifties - introduced in October last year has not been matched by more recent usage and these are now under review by First Midland Red.

"Passenger usage of the fast X50 bus service between Evesham, Pershore and Worcester is growing and very encouraging but First are concerned at the loadings on some of the recently restored local services to villages such as Eckington, Fladbury and Wadborough," said VPTG chairman Julian Palfrey.

"The Village Hopper serving a number of Vale villages and the Pershore PlumLine are also potentially at risk with County Council funding currently due to end next year.

"We believe these buses not only provide vital services helping to tackle rural isolation in our local villages but are also important to our local economy offering residents the ability to use our local shops and facilities in both Pershore and Evesham.

"However there is a serious risk that we are already in "use it or lose it " territory and we would urge people to support their local bus services to help increase the case for further improvements.

With major housing growth in the town and year on year increases in passenger usage of Pershore Station - despite inadequate car parking - VPTG is also concerned at the lack of commitment by Great Western Railway to meet growing demand for extra services from next year's timetable changes.

"Retention of - and improvements to - our local public transport network are vital to cater for existing and potential future usage through massive housing growth and to help relieve mounting pressure on local roads," said Mr Palfrey.

"Better integration of our local bus and rail network is also needed to improve connectivity linking local village routes with fast bus and rail services from Pershore and Evesham."