Bus firm told ‘go back to the drawing board’

CHANGE A First bus in Hilsea. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (123807-2)
CHANGE A First bus in Hilsea. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (123807-2)
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PASSENGERS are feeling frustrated as changes to the bus timetable across the area’s network continue to throw up yet more problems.

Many have complained of being unable to get to where they are going, having to take two buses where previously there was one direct service, longer journey times, and less frequent services.

Some school pupils say the 3A service which takes them to King Richard’s School, in Paulsgrove, was seriously delayed for the second day in a row yesterday – meaning they were late for school again.

Jake Smith, 14, of Peterborough Road, Wymering, says he waited at the stop on his road for 35 minutes.

The bus was scheduled to arrive at 7.52am but he says it never arrived so he had to get on the next one at 8.17am.

The same bus was more that 40 minutes late on Monday and the following one at 8.17am was also delayed.

Jake’s mum Kim Kelly, 34, said: ‘It’s ridiculous. That service hasn’t even changed so I can’t understand why it would be so late. It was always on time before.’

Operator First Hampshire and Dorset Ltd blamed the delays on Monday on congestion and slower running services due to people asking questions about timetable changes or buses being busier as people had left early for work.

A spokeswoman from First said: ‘We encountered some issues with traffic hold ups in various places, and higher than expected loadings of people at certain locations did mean that some services were, unfortunately, delayed en route to their destinations.

‘Where possible we will learn from theses issues and amend things accordingly so that we are able to deliver the best possible network to help keep the region moving in the 21 century.’

However, First was unavailable to comment yesterday on the second day of delays.

The changes were introduced in a bid to improve services but Gosport Borough Councillor Jill Wright says they have left many people in Bridgemary ‘marooned’.

She said: ‘There’s a whole area of Bridgemary, along Tukes Avenue, where there are no buses that go to Nobes Avenue shops. The people who live there can’t get out to their appointments, the post office, or the shops.

‘I’ve had so many complaints about it – no-one is happy with these changes but there are a lot of very unhappy people. The company needs to go right back to the drawing board and come up with some new routes.’