Petition calls on First to improve buses

Doreen French (centre) with other residents of Cessac House in Gosport who are complaining about the bus services in their area.  Picture: Steve Reid (123032-716)
Doreen French (centre) with other residents of Cessac House in Gosport who are complaining about the bus services in their area. Picture: Steve Reid (123032-716)

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FRUSTRATED bus user Doreen French has handed First a 200-signature petition demanding better disabled access.

The 68-year-old, of The Redan, Gosport, decided to petition the company after struggling to lift her shopping trolley up and down the stairs into the bus.

The Gosport to Alverstoke circular 29/30 route was served by an accessible low floor bus for three days a week.

But now this has been removed. So Mrs French decided to start a petition and within three weeks she got 200 signatures.

The 68-year-old said: ‘I wheeled my trolley off and realised I could have fallen under it. I was going for cancer tests and I thought “I don’t need all this”.

‘The accessibility is nil.

‘They’re so damned old, always broken down.’

Her fellow bus users have been supportive of the petition.

But she is now becoming annoyed at the lack of contact from First.

Mrs French submitted the petition two weeks ago but she says she has received no response to the petition.

‘It’s like I’m talking to a brick wall,’ she said. ‘Nobody takes any responsibility as far as I can see’

First acknowledged receiving the petition and say it is now dealing with it. As reported, the firm has announced a shake-up to the bus routes in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Waterlooville. In the plans, the existing 29/30 service will be replaced in November by three new services, the 9, 10 and 11.

But it could not confirm if these services will always be serviced by low floor buses.

Spokeswoman Karen Baxter said: ‘This petition has been passed to our service delivery team for them to review.

‘As a company we are committed to replacing our fleet with low floor, easy access vehicles and have a programme underway to ensure that all vehicles meet the standards required by the Disability Discrimination Act in time for the 2015/2017 deadlines.’