Passengers on Portsmouth rail replacement bus turfed out a mile away from their stop '“ and driver tells them '˜I don't know the way'

PASSENGERS on a rail replacement bus were left puzzled after they had to direct a driver to their stop because he '˜did not know his way around Portsmouth'.

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 7:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:09 am
Fratton station - which is not that near to St Mary's Road. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The gaffe occurred on Saturday night after travellers hoping to get off at Fratton station were told they had arrived at their stop '“ despite being a mile away in St Mary's Road.

A contracted driver was in charge of the vehicle on behalf of South Western Railway as all trains between Portsmouth and Southampton were replaced amid engineering works. 

The News' reporter Byron Melton got on the bus at the Cosham Interchange just after 9pm and saw the drama unfold.

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'˜We pulled up just before the bridge on St Mary's Road and even though it was dark it was abundantly clear we were nowhere near Fratton station,' he said.

'˜I reluctantly got off the bus with a few others and checked maps on my phone '“ it was a 1.1m walk. 

'˜So I asked the driver why we stopped so far away and he said he was just following the route he'd been given. 

'˜I protested and he agreed to take us where we were should've been if I showed him the way, so I did.' 

As congestion grew behind the bus '“ which was not stopped at a bus stop '“ drivers sounded their horns while the driver placed one passenger's suitcase back into the boot. 

At least three passengers including Mr Melton then got back on board.

'˜The driver told us he wasn't from around here and said he didn't know his way around Portsmouth's roads, so I recommended he stop on Fratton Road so he could continue along Winston Churchill Avenue to Portsmouth and Southsea,' he said. 

'˜I've got no idea how well that onward journey went, but he apologised profusely when he let us off round the corner from Fratton station. 

'˜I felt bad for him because it wasn't his fault and it was obvious he'd been given duff instructions.

'˜He missed a young lad's stop at Hilsea before this as well, so I suppose alarm bells should've been ringing earlier.'

South Western Railway confirmed the bus service was one operating in place of one of its trains.  

A spokesperson for the firm said: '˜This is not the standard we would expect from our contractors and those who deliver rail replacement services on our behalf.

'˜We will be investigating to find out what went wrong in this instance.'