Bus changes for new Waterlooville estate cause upset

Changes to a First Bus service have caused complaints
Changes to a First Bus service have caused complaints
Miss JC Newbald is pictured with an assistant, Mrs G Cowd

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CHANGES to a bus service have come under fire from passengers.

The First Bus X9 used to serve Sunnymead Drive in Waterlooville twice an hour and was popular with older people heading into the town centre to shop.

But last week it was cut to once an hour with the other service diverted to the new Berewood estate to the west of Waterlooville, where thousands of new homes are being built.

And it will no longer call at Brambles Industrial Estate.

A petition against the cut has been signed by more than 350 people.

Julie Bowman, 75, of Sunnymead Drive, is behind the campaign.

She said: ‘I strongly object to this. The changes are not just an inconvenience to me but also to people in Hambledon and Denmead who use the Milton Road health centre.

‘I’ve spoken to a lot of people and an awful lot of them feel this is a bad move.

‘I can’t carry a lot of shopping so I get small amounts every day. There are a lot of older people like me who rely on it and I believe it will lead to people moving out of the area.

‘After this I’m worried they may cut the service through Sunnymead Drive altogether.’

The route is dictated by Hampshire County Council which subsidises the service.

Councillor Sean Woodward, in charge of transport at the council, said: ‘The X9 route, which is partly funded by the county council, will have a new timetable to provide a service to residents of the new housing at Berewood so that they have public transport options.

‘The X9 will continue to run every 30 minutes between Denmead and Portsmouth, and hourly to Hambledon but to allow for the extra time needed, journeys via Sunnymead Drive and Milton Road will become hourly.

‘Milton Road also has the Star 7 service to Waterlooville and Portsmouth which runs up to every 10 minutes and which passes the health centre.

‘Funding from the new development at Berewood helps pay for the X9 service.’