Fears over buses going to QA from Southsea centre

From left, Terence Rierkert, Matt Chapman, Steve Kramer, Dan Deeks, Theresa Newstead, Simon Freeman and Josh Roux
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170948-1)

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CONCERNS are being raised that elderly patients will not be able to get to Queen Alexandra Hospital easily as bus routes are due to change in the Portsmouth area.

The issue was flagged up by a Southsea resident at Portsmouth City Council’s health, overview and scrutiny panel (Hosp) meeting.

As reported in The News, First bus company is changing the timetables for almost all its services in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Waterlooville.

The current number three bus takes passengers from Southsea Shopping Centre and goes to QA, in Cosham.

But under the changes, which come into effect from Sunday, November 18, that service would be lost.

Josephine Osborne, a retired secretary, of Villiers Road, Southsea, was at the Hosp meeting.

Afterwards she said: ‘Last year my husband was treated at QA.

‘He’s passed away now, but when he was there I would use the buses to visit him.

‘A round trip in a taxi would cost £20.

‘There are a lot of elderly people who live here and they can’t afford to get a taxi there.

‘They face walking further to catch a bus.

‘It’s ridiculous.’

The company has said the new routes will go ahead as planned, but that it is prepared to make changes if it is shown to be necessary.

At the meeting Matt Kitchin, general manager for First, said: ‘Every bus company is having to make savings.

‘We believe some journeys were insufficient because there were few people travelling along them.

‘But we will be looking at how the new services are running at three months and six months.’

Printed timetables will be available and are due to be handed out at roadshows that are being held to talk about the new routes.

They take place on:

n Wednesday, October 31, Lawrence Square, Gosport, from 9am to 4pm.

n Thursday, November 1, Commercial Road, Portsmouth, from 9am to 4pm.

n Friday, November 2, podium bandstand, Fareham, from 9am to 5pm.

n Saturday, November 3, Commercial Road, Portsmouth, from 9am to 4pm.