Fareham bus changes will hit vulnerable passengers says councillor

4
Have your say

VULNERABLE people will suffer with changes to bus services, a Fareham councillor claims.

First Bus has announced changes to its services which came into force yesterday.

SPEAKING OUT Councillor Peter Davies is angry about changes that are being made to the Number 6 bus services in Fareham at the Hill Park Road bus stops in Highlands Road. Picture: Paul Jacobs (14176-3)

SPEAKING OUT Councillor Peter Davies is angry about changes that are being made to the Number 6 bus services in Fareham at the Hill Park Road bus stops in Highlands Road. Picture: Paul Jacobs (14176-3)

Councillor Peter Davies is concerned about changes to services 5, 5A, 6, 6A, 9 and 9A which have been either replaced or diverted.

He is worried that the elderly and disabled people in Fareham will be affected if they don’t live near a main road.

He said: ‘What First is doing is drastically cutting the services for the urban areas in Fareham. They want to run buses on main roads.

‘That means that those who aren’t on main roads will have cuts. In Highlands Road, people won’t be able to get to their local shops because there will be no buses.

‘The Highlands medical centre has taken over 6,000 patients from the town centre health centre. Some of those won’t be able to get to their medical centre.

‘This is going to affect the vulnerable people, the people who depend on buses.’

Joan Malthouse, 91, from Fareham, said: ‘They have taken off the number 6. How on earth do they expect us to go out?

‘They have left us in the lurch. If it is wasn’t for the cheerfulness of the drivers then it would be downright miserable to get the bus.’

Joan Reid, 71, from Frosthole Crescent, said: ‘They are taking away the bus from us.

‘We will have to walk up the shops. They’re a very bad company. They might want us in our graves but we are not going without a fight.’

But Marc Reddy, managing director at First Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire, said: ‘All the changes we are making are in response to customer feedback.

‘In many instances, we have increased the frequency our services as in the case of the Eclipse E1/E2.

‘The majority of the services in the area are provided commercially without any financial support.

‘However, some routes such as the new Service 11 to Alverstoke and Service 21 to Hill Head are contracted wholly by Hampshire County Council, with whom we work in partnership. It decides the level of service provided, based on the levels of funds available within its budgets, among other criteria.

‘Three services, F1, 26 and 28 will now serve Highlands Medical Centre but Cllr Davies is welcome to contact us to give us more details about the location of the vulnerable people to whom he refers.’