Pensioners say life has been ‘absolutely horrible’ since X9 bus service was cut

Pensioners in Purbrook say they are barely leaving their homes after the X9 bus service was cancelled in January.  Picture: Habibur Rahman
Pensioners in Purbrook say they are barely leaving their homes after the X9 bus service was cancelled in January. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Rt. Rev. George Bell. Picture: PA Wire

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ELDERLY bus passengers say life has been ‘absolutely horrible’ since their favourite service was cut.

Pensioners in Purbrook say they are barely leaving their homes after the X9 route, formerly operated by First, was scrapped in January.

The service – which used to run every 30 minutes from Monday to Saturday – travelled from Hambledon to The Hard in Portsmouth, via Denmead, Waterlooville and Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Carol Oakes, 69 of Anne Crescent, one road away from where the service used to stop, said: ‘Life has been absolutely horrible without the X9 – most people here haven’t been out since.

‘Because lots of older people live here, many need to attend frequent appointments at QA. These are now very hard to make because instead of travelling directly from Elizabeth Road, we have to get the bus from Stakes Lodge 400m away and change at Crookhorn.

‘It’s a wicked, steep walk up Stakes Hill. I tried it once and I was in agony – I can’t do it again.’

Her sister Susan Wood, 66 from Denmead, has also been affected by the cut.

She said: ‘This has ruined people’s lives in Denmead.

‘People are pinned inside their homes now unless they get an indirect bus or take a taxi, which is very expensive.

‘We just can’t keep on doing it.’

A spokesperson for First Solent said: ‘ Throughout 2016 we saw the usage on the X9 service diminishing significantly, which made it both economically and environmentally unviable to operate.

‘The Stakes Lodge bus stop is strategically placed for the residents in Ann Crescent and Elizabeth Road as it meets the guidelines that suggest a walk of up to 400m from their home to the bus stop is acceptable.’