SCORES of people in Gosport have signed a petition after a bus service was axed, leaving them with a longer walk to the nearest bus stop.
Forton ward Labour councillor Keith Farr has collected nearly 200 signatures after bus users told him of their concerns about getting into Gosport town centre after they lost the old 87 and 87A services, which previously stopped at nearby shops known as the Broadway, on Palmyra Road.
The new number 9 and 9A routes, which replaced the 87 and 87A on Sunday, November 18, do not stop at Broadway shops, leaving elderly residents with a walk to either Brockhurst Road or The Crossways.
Rhoda York, 79, of Heaton Road, Forton, used to get walk to the bus stop at the shops in Palmyra Road.
She said: ‘I’ve been here 57 years and we’ve always had a bus there. I’m 79 now, and I go down town a couple of times a week because it’s exercise for me.
‘I live at the end of Heaton Road and I used to go round the corner and pick up a bus.
‘I don’t drive, I haven’t got a car and my husband died two years ago
‘I used to meet people on the bus. It was quite a community that used to get on the bus, we were regulars.’
Cllr Farr said he is concerned that elderly residents in the area may not be able to walk the distance to the bus stops, which he said may lead to them being unable to get to doctors’ surgeries and shops.
‘The elderly people have got a job to walk. They can’t get to doctor’s surgeries, they can’t get out to the Waterside in town,’ said Cllr Farr.
‘I want them to reinstate that bus service, even on a smaller scale, a smaller bus or something, or instead of having the bus go down Albemarle Avenue, it would make more sense to be directed down through the Broadway.’
Karen Baxter, a spokesperson for First Bus, said the company had carried out detailed work prior to the changes to understand local travel patterns and have been in contact with Cllr Farr about the changes, which she said were aimed at increasing the frequency of buses for more people in the area.
She said: ‘We specifically understand that Cllr Farr is worried about the impact that the changes will have on the elderly residents in his area.’