Bus service wins a partial reprieve after a petition

Buses can be a lifeline
Buses can be a lifeline
Miss JC Newbald is pictured with an assistant, Mrs G Cowd

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A BUS route which was facing the axe has been partially saved.

First Bus has agreed to continue running the number 35 route, which runs between Hill Head, Stubbington and Fareham train station – but on a reduced scale.

More than 200 people had signed a petition calling on Hampshire County Council to change its mind about getting rid of the service.

There are currently 14 round trips a day on weekdays, starting at 6.51am and finishing in the early evening.

Now, following talks between the council and First, it has agreed to keep the route, but run just seven services a day.

Cllr Mel Kendal, who is in charge of environment and transport matters for the county, said it was ‘good news for residents’.

He added: ‘With less money available to subsidise buses that are not viable commercially, some difficult decisions had to be made but we have worked closely with bus operators to meet communities’ essential travel needs with the funding we have available.’

‘I am pleased that we were able to work with First to resolve the situation within the available funding.’

Route 35 will now be provided from Monday to Friday, between Fareham, Hill Head and Stubbington to Fareham rail station and Fareham College, via Longmynd Drive.

The first journey of the day from Hill Head will be at 6.45am.

First will then provide six other round trips during the day after the subsidy is withdrawn.

The 7.40am number 33 from Hill Head will also connect with the 34 at Stubbington going to the station and college in Fareham.

Fareham borough’s Stubbington ward councillor Jim Forrest, who collected the petition, said: ‘It’s not great for anyone who’s working late or wants to go into Fareham on an evening out, but it’s better than the initial proposals.’

Hampshire County Council had agreed to slash £2.2m from its £6.7m bus subsidy budget in July, forcing it to look at removing or reducing 13 routes from the Fareham, Gosport and Havant areas.

The proposals and the new timetables are expected to come into effect in October.