Hampshire bus users’ fears at route changes

A First bus stop
A First bus stop

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CONCERNS have been raised that the overhaul of First’s bus network could leave some people stranded.

Elderly customers and commuters are worried they could have much further to walk because of the company’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 First hopes will increase the frequency and accessibility of its buses.

The company has said the new routes announced yesterday will go ahead as planned, but that it is prepared to make changes if a service is shown to not be working.

Dennis Welch, 76, from Fratton, said he was disappointed at the loss of the service leaving from Fratton Road and going towards Queen Alexandra Hospital.

‘People living near me will have to walk all the way to Lake Road to catch the bus,’ he said.

‘I think it’s shame that there is no bus going from Fratton to the hospital like there used to be.’

Jean McQuoid, 70, of Norfolk Street, Southsea, said she was worried she would be forced to walk the length of Elm Grove in Southsea because of the changes.

‘I’m up and down to the hospital a lot,’ she said. ‘Before the 1C picked me up from the King’s Road end of Elm Grove, but I don’t think that’s going to happen any more.’

Another worry was the lack of buses going to Havant.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We are always willing to listen to customer feedback and should we find something is not working as well as we would like, then we will of course review this.

‘Our intention is to encourage as many people as possible to use our buses and to grow our business accordingly so we will of course listen to any suggestions on ways we can do this.’

First customer services can be reached on (023) 8071 4800 or by visiting facebook.com/FirstHampshire.