Gosport commuters criticise bus route changes

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BUS users seized the opportunity to question First Bus over changes to routes across Gosport.

Many commuters were angry with the company at the roadshow in Lawrence Square on Gosport High Street, saying that existing routes provide adequate service.

(l-r) Laura Wise, admin assistant for First Bus, Brian Brennan, driver for First Bus talking to The Mayoress of Gosport Roberta Irvine and The Mayor of Gosport Cllr. Richard Dickson about the new bus network''Picture: Sarah Standing (123538-1342)

(l-r) Laura Wise, admin assistant for First Bus, Brian Brennan, driver for First Bus talking to The Mayoress of Gosport Roberta Irvine and The Mayor of Gosport Cllr. Richard Dickson about the new bus network''Picture: Sarah Standing (123538-1342)

New services will begin in Gosport on Sunday, November 18.

Elderly passengers were concerned that routes will become less frequent and not take them to local amenities.

Patricia Wheeler, 64, of Solent Way, Alverstoke was angry that her mother, Helen Hellet, 91, of Jericho Avenue will lose her independence when the 88 bus is replaced by the new number nine.

She said: ‘My mother is fiercely independent, she relies on the bus.

‘The bus is now going to one an hour. She was badly served when the bus stop changed earlier this year, she couldn’t walk to the stop.

‘It’s very important to her because she wants her independence, she doesn’t want to rely on us.

‘She has to get the bus to go to the doctor’s; we can take her but that’s not the point, she deserves it.’

Other customers were unhappy that changes will result in long walks.

Juleen Smith, 47, of Dayshes Close, Bridgemary, lives with her mother, Audrey Smith, 81.

Miss Smith takes the 85 bus from nearby Tukes Avenue with her mother but says she will now have to walk 40 minutes to the closest shops and doctor’s surgery.

She said: ‘They’ve taken off a route that will leave us stranded – people in their 90s can’t get to surgeries.

‘It’s vital. We’re going to have to walk a long way now.’

Despite having some similar concerns, Susan Turner, 66, of Homer Close, Rowner, was reassured at the roadshow about bus routes to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

She said: ‘I’ve heard the access to QA has improved. My friend goes regularly and it’s important as the car parking is bad.’

Steve Hobbs, commercial business manager at First Bus, said the company analysed passenger data to provide a simplified route.

He said: ‘Over the years we’ve changed numbers and added routes, now we’ve swapped everything and built it again for the benefit of the travelling public.’