‘It’s such a shame’: Dismay as vital village bus to shops is axed

First Bus
First Bus
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SHOPPERS have expressed their disappointment after a bus service from their village to a shopping centre was axed.

The W2 service by First Bus ran from Whiteley Shopping Centre to Warsash but the last day of service was Saturday, July 7, as a result of a  lack of use by residents.

Resident Carol Waight said: ‘It is such a shame. We used this bus nearly every week once we found out about it, so did a lot of our friends. There will be no more meals out in Whiteley on a Saturday.’

The centre also runs a W1 service to Fareham town centre.

Operations manager at Whiteley Shopping Centre, Darren Gooding, said: ‘The W2 service is something we trialled for 12 months after we started the W1 service, but there was barely 10 people using it per day so it is just not cost effective.

‘It is a great shame for shoppers and if we could have a W3 and W4 service then we would for our customers, but bus services are only sustainable if people use them.’

In a statement on their website, First Bus said: ‘Unfortunately, due to the conclusion of the contract with Whiteley Shopping to provide this service, the last day of operation of Route W2 was Saturday, July 7.

‘We would like to thank all passengers for travelling with us and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.’

Carol added: ‘I understand it was under-used and maybe not financially viable, but could they not put on a reduced service instead of cancelling it completely?’

Fellow resident Dave Harbour said: ‘It is just a shame that all concerned parties didn’t think this through properly. I did air my concerns not long after the route had started, but was told that it was successful and full all of the time.

‘Shame that with the Lidl opening soon over at Whiteley that there hasn’t been, and still won’t be, a week-day service.’

It comes as Hampshire County Council looks to review bus services across the county, including the 28/28A which runs from Fareham to Whiteley.

Mr Gooding added: ‘The county council is looking at those services because they make a loss, and it would be a shame if they were cut.

‘It would mean people who are less able, or don’t have a car, would struggle to get to Whiteley.’