A COUNCILLOR’S campaign to reinstate a bus service has taken another step forward following ‘positive discussions’ with the operator.
Eastney Lib Dem councillor Matthew Winnington met First Bus managers yesterday to discuss reinstating the route of its 15 service to the Hayling Ferry terminal.
Cllr Winnington, of the Eastney and Craneswater ward, also presented the company with a petition signed by more than 1,100 people showing support for the service.
He said: ‘First Bus were grateful for the petition. It’s shown that there is a galvanising element to the campaign.
‘There’s certainly no guarantees yet, but there is a positive way forward.’
The bus currently runs daily from The Hard to Fort Cumberland, and stopped going to the ferry’s drop-off point earlier this year after Portsmouth City Council cut its subsidy for the service.
Cllr Winnington says that further communications between Hayling Ferry operators and First Bus are required to gather more evidence of demand from ferry passengers.
However, he believes that the ferry’s commitment to a regular service all year round is an extra advantage.
He says: ‘It shows that the ferry is here to stay and I think that gives a confidence point to the bus service.’
Clare Satchwell, co-founder of the Hayling Ferry trust, says that it ‘seems logical’ to reinstate the full route.
She said: ‘The feedback that the passengers on the Hayling Ferry give us is that they really miss the bus service.
‘It would absolutely make a massive difference to the long-term sustainability of the Hayling Ferry.’
Cllr Satchwell, of the Hayling East ward, says that there is enough demand for the full bus service. A temporary service for passengers heading to the Victorious Festival over the bank holiday weekend proved a success.
She added: ‘Especially over the summer, we carried a huge number of passengers and it really is the missing link.
‘There is a bus stop and a turning circle at the drop-off point, so the physical infrastructure is already in place. They just need a bus and a full timetable.’
First Bus was unavailable for comment.