Bus passengers angry at loss of Havant service

Daniel Williams as King Charles I at Portsmouth Car Ferry Terminal, Gunwharf. Picture: Byron Melton

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BUS passengers are angry they are completely losing a service in First’s route overhaul.

At a roadshow on Saturday in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, some customers complained that they are getting a raw deal out of the shake-up because of the loss of the number 63 bus.

This service takes passengers from Hayling Island to the Queen Alexandra Hospital via Havant.

There will now be no First buses going from Portsmouth to Havant at all, although rival firm Stagecoach does still offer services in the town.

First has announced that almost all of its services in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Waterlooville will be scrapped on Sunday November 18.

They will be replaced by a new timetable with different numbers that First says will bring its network ‘into the 21st century’.

But commuter Deborah Ayres, 47, of Sandy Point, Hayling Island, says she has just bought an annual bus pass she says will now be no use at all.

‘I work as a sterile service technician at QA hospital,’ she said.

‘So I bought the pass to get the bus there from Hayling Island in the morning, but now they’re getting rid of that service.

‘So my bus pass is going to be absolutely flipping useless. There is a Stagecoach bus that goes from the island to Portsmouth, but it takes twice as long.

‘I’ve asked for the money back for my bus pass but all they’ve said is to call their customer service team.

‘I’m not happy at all.’

Michael Weedon, 70, from Hayling Island, has to make frequent trips to QA hospital and agrees with Mrs Ayres.

He said: ‘I often have appointments early in the morning and it will be much more difficult without that bus.’

A First Group spokeswoman said: ‘We have received feedback from customers who, having been affected by the similar changes that took place in Southampton, have said they have improved things for them. We consider this positive feedback and would encourage people in East Hampshire to reserve judgment on the changes until they’ve had a chance to use the new network.’