Anger as Hampshire village is left without late bus service

CONCERNED Caroline Dinenage MP
CONCERNED Caroline Dinenage MP
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A DECISION to leave a village without an evening bus service has been branded unacceptable.

From Saturday, First Bus is rerouting its number 9 service meaning it will no longer run through Alverstoke village.

Residents have collected a 300-signature petition against the move which will see the number of buses cut from 33 to just six a day.

The change will also see the last bus stopping off at the village at 5.50pm instead of the current 10.50pm with no service at all on Sundays or bank holidays.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has opposed the move. She said: ‘We are really disappointed with the decision. Gosport is one of the largest towns in the country without a railway so many rely on the bus service.

‘Buses are the cheapest way to get around and for some the only way.

‘These changes are going to affect a lot of people and I would encourage them to write to the company and try to stop them as they are unacceptable. We thought we had come to a satisfactory decision with the bus company last year.’

In January last year First was made a U-turn on plans to change routes in the Elson area in Gosport after public complaints.

Alan Scard, councillor for Anglesey, has also been outraged by the decision.

He told The News: ‘The first we knew of this was a couple of weeks ago.’

‘The local councillors were not consulted at all on the matter. Local residents are angry and it’s understandable. I sent out a letter informing all my residents of the changes last Tuesday. By Wednesday I had almost 200 complaints and they are still pouring in now. I still don’t understand the decision.

‘The only way we can get around this issue is to sit down and discuss the matter.’

In a statement First said it was ‘no longer commercially viable to run the same levels of bus services in Alverstoke’.

It said Hampshire County Council had stepped in to provide a subsidised service for the No.11. This will be the only route connecting Alverstoke to Gosport town centre with buses running every two hours.

Carol Coomber, 66, of Cessac House is a regular user of the current service.

She said: ‘This new system means you only have to miss one bus and then you will be waiting for two hours for the next one. It is unacceptable.’