A COMMUNITY bus scheme in Bexley has become the first in London to be granted a permit by Transport for London (TfL) to run a community bus route.

Bexley Accessible Transport Scheme (BATS) will run the 938 route from Erith to Townley Road, Bexleyheath, via Victoria Scott Court sheltered housing scheme and Crayford town centre.

The bus currently runs on a Monday and Thursday, but already there are plans to add extra days and new stops at Erith Hospital and Crayford Road polyclinics as well as Hall Place in Bourne Road, Bexley.

BATS launched in 2004 with three vehicles, now has a fleet of 11 and offers member groups of charities, voluntary groups and not-for-profit organisations affordable, accessible transport.

Its chief executive Andrew Grieve said: “It is one of the purposes of our organisation to fill in the grey areas on the periphery of public transport provision in Bexley, where there are no mainstream bus services in certain areas, and to serve new community initiatives in the borough, working in partneship with the local authority and health care trust.”