Bus timetable changes in Portsmouth area a divisive topic

Cllr Peter Davies, operations manager for Fareham Andy Anderson, operations manager for Portsmouth Bill Sparke, Kieran Campbell, and admin assistant Joanne Horan
Cllr Peter Davies, operations manager for Fareham Andy Anderson, operations manager for Portsmouth Bill Sparke, Kieran Campbell, and admin assistant Joanne Horan
Breakdown workers preparing to haul out of the sea one of the cars involved in an accident on the Havant by-pass

THIS WEEK IN 1970: Havant by-pass cars plunge into the sea

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BUS users vented their fury about proposed timetable changes at a roadshow.

Representatives from First were in Fareham town centre yesterday with copies of its new timetable, which will come into effect on Sunday.

The firm has made many changes across its services over the past two years and this latest one has not gone down well with passengers.

Many came to ask questions and to speak to managers, who were giving out spins of a wheel of fortune with tickets as 

Maureen Winter, who uses the number 9, said the changes mean she can’t get from her home in Bridgemary to her doctors without changing buses.

The 64-year-old said: ‘It has left me high and dry.’

Another angry customer was Jeanette Williams, 79, of Oakdown Road, who was upset about the bus frequency from Stubbington to Fareham.

She said: ‘It’s ridiculous – it’s just getting silly.’

She said as the last bus leaves at 6.30pm, it makes an evening out in Fareham expensive.

Fareham north west ward councillor Peter Davies, a bus enthusiast, said the changes were broadly ‘positive’ with some areas gaining, such as the X4, which will see a Sunday link from Fareham to Gunwharf Quays for the first time.

The X4 and X5 will also provide an increased service from Southampton to Gosport and from Southampton to Portsmouth.

Alison Henderson, from First, said the company was keen to hear customers’ views and it was pleased so many people had come along.

She said: ‘There have been lots of questions but we are eager to answer them as best we can before the changes come in.’

Not everybody was unhappy, Pearl Arkell, of Gregson Avenue, lives near the Eclipse route, which runs every six minutes.

The 87-year-old said: ‘I can go up and down all day. I’ve got no bother. I’m over the moon.’

First were out as part of a series of meet-the-passenger roadshows including in Portsmouth, as reported in The News yesterday.

The changes in full

FIRST will be making changes to its bus services starting on Sunday. Routes that will see changes are:

- Service 1 - timetable amended

- Service 3 - increased frequency

- Services 4, 4A and X4 - route changes, revised service, routes and stops withdrawn

- Service X5 - replacing the Service 5, route extension

- Service 7 - timetable changes

- Service 8 - timetable changes

- Service 9 - timetable changes, new 9A for alternate journeys

- Service X9- revised timetable, route changes

- Service 10 - timetable changes

- Service 11 - timetable changes

- Service F1 - timetable amended

- Service F2 - revised timetable, rote changes

- Service F3 - reduced operating times

For info see firstgroup.com or call 0333 0143480

View from the street

Philip Wilson, 75, Anchorage Court, Lee-on-the-Solent:

‘It’s rubbish and it just keeps getting worse. We had a good service when we moved in and now we have nothing. It is messing us about and soon we won’t have any bus service at all. I’m representing the residents of Anchorage Court who are all over 55 and rely on the bus. We even have a bus stop, which the developer built and paid for, which is now unused.’

Trevor Howard, ward councillor Fareham South:

‘The residents of my ward often come to me with concerns to do with the buses. I can’t see how the Eclipse bus is so profitable when you often see buses entirely empty. They go every six minutes. Why can’t First cut that frequency down and put it on to other services? Unfortunately it is all down to money and that is the trouble with the world today.’

Brian Lewis, 81, of Oakdown Road, Stubbington:

’It’s all about getting from A to B and there’s not enough buses.

‘You can go from Fareham to Gosport as many times as you like but we are very limited to get from Fareham to Stubbington. Sometimes we want to go out in Fareham in the evening but we can’t as it costs £10 to come back in a taxi when the buses stop.’

Glenda Brearley, 78, Hill View Road, Portchester:

‘They have cut our buses down to three when we used to have five. We are isolated. We have to walk down a hill to the village to get a bus and up it to get back. We have even lost our service to the hospital. Sometimes we feel like the isolated village. We feel like we are the forgotten part of Fareham.’

Carol Jarvis, 57, Williams Close, Fareham:

‘I’m not happy. They have changed my bus, the number 9, and now I can only get it every half hour instead of every 15 minutes. They keep messing us about with the timetables. You never know where you stand.

‘It’s no help. They stopped the bus from Brockhurst and all the old people couldn’t get to the medical centre. It’s disgusting.’

Marjorie Williams, 81, Copse Lane, Gosport:

‘I’m not pleased with the new timetable. It’s no good to me. I’ve got to walk to the main route if I want to catch the bus. Then I have to get another bus if I want to go to my doctors and it’s not good enough.

There’s also not a bus shelter so you get wet through. I’m nearly 82 and I don’t want to be walking miles and standing in the rain. It’s wrong.’