THE park-and-ride service to Southsea is to be abolished just six months after it was introduced, The News can reveal.
Portsmouth City Council has decided to pull the route altogether next month as not enough passengers have used it since it was unveiled at Easter this year.
I have seen the buses and there is never anybody on them.Marion Wren, owner of Preloved Portsmouth, in Palmerston Road, Southsea
Traders say it’s not come as a surprise as park-and-ride buses into the area from the transport hub off the M275 are always empty.
But they are urging the council to thrash out a new plan to pull in more visitors.
Marion Wren, owner of Preloved Portsmouth, in Palmerston Road, said: ‘I’m not surprised.
‘I have seen the buses and there is never anybody on them.
‘I have seen them go up and down empty.
‘It’s very concerning, but it does take time to change people’s habits.
‘I don’t think the park-and-ride is that successful anywhere in the town.’
Tony Brown, chairman of Southsea Association, said the decision appeared rushed.
He said: ‘There needs to be some sort of park-and-ride link to Southsea. It needs examining. To make a snap judgement on that is difficult and there is a lot to take into account.’
The move comes as a blow to the council as it spent about £91,666 running the extension to Southsea.
Portsmouth Tory traffic boss Ken Ellcome, said: ‘For the last six months we have been trialling a park-and-ride bus service to Southsea.
‘We have reviewed the service and decided to cancel it based on the current usage.
‘The daily service will end on Sunday, November 22.
‘However we will continue to provide a Saturday-only service until Saturday, December 19, to help with Christmas shopping in the area.’
The regular park-and-ride service to the city centre and The Hard will continue, although there will be slight timetable changes from November 26, including a late-night service for Christmas shoppers.
See parkandride.portsmouth.gov.uk for more details.