Bus firm criticised for ending service to crematorium

Havant Road, Hayling Island, close to the Yew Tree Inn. Credit: Google Street View

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CHANGES to a bus route which mean that no bus service runs past one of the biggest crematoriums in the county have caused outrage from residents.

Part of the route of the 22 was scrapped by First in April, despite Fareham Borough Council installing two new shelters outside the crematorium less than a year ago.

Cllr Peter Davies, from Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘It is totally absurd that you cannot get a bus from Fareham to the crematorium. I have spoken to First about the concerns. They are looking into it. We’ll have to see what they come up with. They have got the option in the autumn to either withdraw or they can let Hampshire County Council subsidise it, and the council could then put it out to tender.’

One local resident said: ‘As a result of the bus changes no buses pass the crematorium, so both bus shelters sit there unused. The majority of people who use buses to the crematorium are older people, to lay flowers. To the crematorium, there are no buses from Portsmouth, Fareham or even Portchester Precinct.’

The nearest bus stops are on the A27 and at Linden Lea.

Residents are also unhappy as the changes mean they cannot get a direct bus from north Portchester to Fareham.

They have to get the bus for one mile in the opposite direction, change at Portchester Precinct and then wait for a bus to Fareham.

The resident said: ‘With waiting for buses and changing, will people want to go to Fareham? I don’t think so. We are being told to stop using cars and use public transport, and then the bus service is removed.’

Cllr Davies said that he had fought to get the bus stops replaced outside the crematorium as the council did not foresee First withdrawing the service past the crematorium as it is such an integral part of the community.

A First spokesman said: ‘We are keen to provide the most convenient services and connections that we possibly can. However, to safeguard the long-term viability of our networks, it’s important that we match our resources to the level of demand in an area.

‘When the service was operating, there wasn’t sufficient demand to keep it as a service.

‘Where services are deemed commercially unviable, councils can choose to help them and keep them running. We advise concerned residents to talk to the county council.’