People power sees changes made to new bus routes

ALTERATIONS First has said it will adjust its new timetable
ALTERATIONS First has said it will adjust its new timetable
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THE firm behind a major overhaul of bus routes will make changes after being inundated by letters and petitions from angry commuters.

First Bus will announce changes to 15 routes across Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Waterlooville, starting from March 17 after MPs and councillors threw their weight behind users.

The company brought in sweeping changes in November which saw routes entirely redesigned, with bosses claiming they would serve users better.

But many commuter complained when old routes ceased to exist and new routes no longer served their areas.

Councillor Keith Farr at Gosport Borough Council petitioned the firm to change the new number 9 route after residents in Elson complained that they were missed out and could no longer get to shops or doctor’s surgeries.

The number 11 route will be diverted through Elson via The Crossways, San Diego Road, Avery Lane, Vale Road, Palmyra Road, Rydal Road and Eastbourne Avenue, adding three minutes.

Cllr Farr said: ‘I’m pleased that they’re going to have this restored. I didn’t want to roll over and let it go but I would say to people here to please use this service, as we don’t want to lose it.’

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage also welcomed the move, which comes after she met bosses at First Bus.

The number 2 service runs from Gunwharf Quays to Paulsgrove via Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Terry Carter, chairman of patient group Portsmouth LINk said he welcomed the improvements to the service, which will improve punctuality and see it run through the evening.

The zero service will now become the 17 and 18, the first running from Tipner to Southsea, with the 18 running from the hospital to Southsea.

Mr Carter said: ‘It gets increasingly difficult when you get into the evening and visitors without cars face problems, so I think it’s good news.’

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘For once they’ve listened and I’m optimistic this will be the first of many.’

Fareham Borough Council’s public transport representative Cllr Peter Davies wants First to consult again.

He wants the company to bring back the hourly 87 bus from Fort Fareham estate to Gosport, which is now served by the 21 and runs four times a day, Monday to Friday.

Marc Reddy, regional commercial and business growth director at First said there had been teething issues but he had listened to concerns.

THE TWEAKS

· 0 - will become routes 17 and 18, and 18 will go to QA

· 1 - new timetables

· 2 - more time allowed, and will go from Gunwharf to Paulsgrove directly in the evening

· 2C - withdrawn in evenings

· 3/3A - 3A withdrawn, more time added to 3, and no need to change in Cosham

· 7 - no change needed between Wecock Farm and Southsea

· 7C - extra buses

· 8 - one morning journey will call at South Downs College

· 9/9A - one morning service will go to Bay House School

· 10 - timetable changed

· 11 - route diverted via Elson

· 12 - timetable change

· 22 - extended to Fareham

· E2 - will use Forest Way in Gosport

· X40 - extra morning journey for South Downs students