Passengers’ anger as bus to hospital is axed by First

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PASSENGERS have reacted angrily to changes that mean they can’t get a direct bus to Queen Alexandra Hospital from Portchester.

In what is the fourth change in two years to bus routes serving the Fareham district, First has announced it will be scrapping the number 22 in January, and replacing it with a less frequent F3.

The new F3 will run five times a day from Portchester Precinct to Fareham bus station, via Cornaway Lane and Dore Avenue.

This means that people living in the northern area of Portchester will not have a direct link to QA.

Ward Cllr Roger Price said: ‘It needs to have a direct link to the hospital. There is a large amount of elderly people in that area that use the hospital.

‘This is the fourth time in a couple of years that the company has changed its service – how do they expect people to use the service when they cannot get any continuity?

‘First is not looking after its customers’ best interests so I have written to the county council to see if it could subsidise part of the route.

‘Or it is an ideal time for another bus company, like Stagecoach, to look at serving the Portchester area.’

Portchester resident Rosamond Spacey, 73, said: ‘We want it to go to the hospital.

‘It doesn’t matter where it has to ramble as long as it gets us there. I’m of that age where I need to use that service, we need to be looked after.

‘Why are they going to mess us around again? They sit in their nice warm offices with their sugary biscuits and think of ways to cause chaos.’

A First spokesperson said: ‘We regret that because Service 22 was being under-used by customers, we are no longer able to run it viably.

‘However, we were made aware there were requests to continue a service from north Portchester. To meet this requirement, we are introducing the F3 which goes from north Portchester to Fareham.

‘If customers need to go to the hospital, can we recommend they catch a Service 3 in Portchester Precinct, whose services will remain unchanged and leave there every 20 minutes.’