Passengers raise fears as axe falls on vital bus route

Lyn Powell at the bus stop near his home Picture: Habibur Rahman (161565-290)
Lyn Powell at the bus stop near his home Picture: Habibur Rahman (161565-290)
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RESIDENTS have voiced their concerns after discovering that a bus service they use to get to hospital will be scrapped next year.

The X9 route, which runs every 30 minutes from Monday to Saturday, travels from Hambledon through Denmead, Waterlooville, Cosham, and Portsmouth to The Hard. It stops at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

The new D1/D2 service will have a similar timetable to the X9 – which runs until January 8 – but passengers will have to change to the Star 7 or 8 services at Waterlooville if they want to go further. And the Star buses do not stop at QA, but at Cosham health centre.

Ninety-year-old Denmead resident Lyn Powell uses the X9 service regularly to get to his appointments at Cosham’s Queen Alexandra Hospital.

He is registered blind and is a member of Blind Veterans UK. Mr Powell said: ‘I get on the bus at the Denmead Health Centre stop. The bus on the X9 route is the only one that goes right up to the entrance of the hospital.

‘Once the service is cut, people like me will have to walk up the hill to get there, and that’s going to cause me quite an inconvenience.

‘I heard the news from another passenger, and when I asked a bus driver on the route about the change, he couldn’t tell me why it was happening.

‘A few other residents are concerned about the change.’

Pamela Knight, who lives on the same road as Lyn in Denmead, uses the service two to three times a week to go to Waterlooville, and sometimes Gunwharf.

She said: ‘Many people still don’t know the service is being stopped, and it’s quite a climb up the hill to the hospital.’

A spokesman for First buses said: ‘With through tickets available on these new journeys, we hope the change will not cause too much inconvenience to our passengers.’

‘People with hospital appointments who find it difficult or impossible to use bus services may be eligible for a more tailored means of transport, such as the non-emergency patient transport service.’

Cllr Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at Hampshire County Council said: ‘The 7 and 8 stop at Cosham Hospital steps on Northern Road which is a six-minute walk to the hospital. Alternatively, for passengers who find the walk difficult, a change of bus can be made at Cosham Health Centre to the number 20 which makes the four-minute run to the centre of the hospital every 30 minutes.

‘The decision is a commercial one by First, based on passenger numbers, affecting the section of the route which they run without subsidy from the county council.’