Students miss classes to catch bus as routes cut

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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AN OLDER persons group and a college have told councillors that bus services in Gosport aren’t good enough.

A council meeting last night heard students from St Vincent College are having to arrive an hour early for classes and some have to leave before the end of the day – because buses have been cut.

Deputy principal David Jenkinson said students and teachers are close to not getting the service needed.

He told the overview and scrutiny meeting: ‘This year would appear to be far worse than previous years.

‘It almost doesn’t provide a service that we and our students expect.’

Mr Jenkinson said there are problems after the axing of the 9A route and cuts to the 9, 10 and 11 bus services in the latest changes by First Bus, which were made in January.

As reported, councillors and Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage have met with the firm over route changes.

Mr Jenkinson told councillors the college is looking into running its own part-subsidised bus for students.

And he said the college’s partnership with Bay House School may mean it looks at routes to Lee-on-the-Solent.

The meeting also saw Gosport Older Persons Forum’s transport lead Richard Strong speak about problems people aged over 55 are facing.

He said the forum wants the council to consider setting up its own transport policy and whether it could use development cash to fund its own bus routes across the borough.

‘A coherent voice would carry more weight,’ he said.

‘It would be an effective use of limited resources.

‘There is quite a noticeable drop in accessibility within residential areas within the borough.’

And the forum urged Gosport’s council to submit to a transport consultation run by Hampshire County Council.

As reported, individual councillors have taken on the battle over bus routes in their wards previously.

Mr Strong made a range of suggestions to the council, including asking if existing routes could be diverted to cover areas without a service.

Gosport’s council has no power over the bus routes – the county council takes on that role.

Board chairwoman Cllr June Cully said it would make a representation to the bus firm. Council deputy leader Graham Burgess is due to meet the firm this week.