READERS have been having their say on a planned overhaul of bus services.
By phone, email or posting comments on our website, portsmouth.co.uk, some passengers say they are worried how the changes will affect them.
Elderly customers and commuters fear they could have much further to walk because of First’s drive to change almost all of its services in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Waterlooville.
The majority of the old routes will be scrapped altogether and replaced with a new timetable which the firm hopes will increase the frequency and accessibility of its buses.
First said the new routes will go ahead as planned from Sunday, November 18, but that it is prepared to make changes if a service is shown to not be working.
Henry West, 70, of Gatcombe Park, Hilsea, has had three strokes and is unable to drive.
He said the current Service 3 helps him get from his home to Queen Alexandra Hospital, as well as Asda’s Bridge Centre to do his shopping. I walk with a stick so getting anywhere on foot takes a long time,’ he said.
‘Now I have two stops I can use, but from November if there is no bus going down Fratton Road it is going to take me a lot longer.’
Harry Maguire, 67, of Warren Avenue, in Milton, said: ‘My daughter works at QA and she is very worried about getting to work in the morning.
‘At the moment she catches a bus from Fratton Road but if that is going it could leave her really stuck. Other people are worried about it as well.’
And on our website roger74 wrote: ‘How the hell do I get to Fratton Bridge from Paulsgrove for my work? How do kids get to Priory school? Move my business, change schools?’
A First spokeswoman said: ‘We would urge our customers to reserve judgement on the new network until they’ve had a chance to use it. Over the course of the next few months we’ll also be hosting a number of customer focused events around the area, which will give people the chance to find out more about the new network.
‘Customers will be able to pick up timetables and information about the specific routes that buses will take at these events, while they will also be able to ask us any questions they may have at the same time.’
Christina Preston, 86, of Marmion Road, said she was surprised at the lack of buses going through Southsea.
‘The new routes aren’t bad,’ she said. ‘But I would appreciate if they put a few more buses going around Southsea, because most of them seem to be going from The Hard and Commercial Road.’
Hazel Horrell, 60, of Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw, said without the Service 45/45A she doesn’t know how she will get to QA hospital.
‘I’m really concerned,’ she said. ‘I hope I won’t have to walk all the way to North End, that would be ridiculous.
‘I used to live in a small village in Oxfordshire and even there we had two buses a day.
‘To have even less – none-at-all – on the outskirts of a city is really bad.’
John Tanner wrote in an email: ‘I do have reservations over the implementation process and the confusion it may cause.
‘At the moment the plan is to renumber almost all of the routes so number crunching will send most into a frenzy while if the rebranding used alphabetical identification there would be no numbers to confuse.’
THERE are fears over removing a popular service that takes people from Copnor to Palmerston Road/South Parade Pier and to the city’s two hospitals.
Andy MacDonald, 64, from Paulsgrove, said: ‘I think the current service from Copnor down to Palmerston Road works fine, why are they trying to make it harder for us?
‘I’ll wait before really passing judgment but it doesn’t seem right to me.’
Your view from portsmouth.co.uk:
seansouthsea posted: ‘Route 0 does not seem to go along Kings Rd/Elm Grove. What service is replacing the 1C from the city centre to Copnor via Kings Rd/Elm Grove?
n Current timetable:
1C - Deerhurst Cres/Hillsley Road – Allaway Avenue Shops – Cosham, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Pasteur Road – Cosham Health Centre – Hilsea Lido – Copnor Road/Green Lane – Copnor Bridge – St Mary’s Hospital – Eastney Health Centre – South Parade Pier – Palmerston Road – City Centre/Commercial Road South
n Replacement services:
2 – The Hard/Gunwharf – City Centre Commercial Road – City Centre Commercial Road – Victoria Road North, Elm Grove – Eastney Health Centre – St Mary’s Hospital – Copnor Bridge – Copnor Road, Green Lane – Hilsea Lido – Cosham Health Centre – Queen Alexandra Hospital, Pasteur Road – Paulsgrove Shops – Paulsgrove, Hillsley Road
2C – Cosham Health Centre – Leominster Road – Paulsgrove, Hillsley Road – Paulsgrove Shops – Cosham Health Centre
SOME people are worried that it will be more difficult for them to get Havant, as First are scrapping their only service altogether.
Michael Weedon, 70, from Hayling Island, said he has to make frequent trips via Havant to QA hospital and is unhappy the 63 service is going.
He said: ‘There is a Stagecoach service but it takes more than twice as long.
‘I often have appointments early in the morning and it will be much more difficult without that bus.’
63 - Fareham Bus Station – The Seagull – North Portchester, Dore Avenue – Portchester Precinct – Allaway Avenue Shops – Cosham Queen Alexandra Hospital, Pasteur Road – Cosham, Red Lion pub – Farlington, Rectory Avenue – Hulbert Road Roundabout – Dunsbury Way, Park Parade – Havant Bus Station
There will be no replacement service, but Stagecoach also runs buses to Havant.
First customer services can be reached on (023) 8071 4800 or by visiting facebook.com/FirstHampshire