Calls for partnership to tackle bus problems

A First Bus vehicle in Portsmouth
A First Bus vehicle in Portsmouth

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A NEW partnership board could be set up to help tackle problems with the bus network.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt wants to see regular bus users, campaigners for elderly people, First Bus and other transport firms come together and draw up solutions.

The group would find ways of getting more buses to run, make routes clearer and attract more people to use the service.

Ms Mordaunt said she would like to see members offering discounted fares to families who go to and from supermarkets regularly.

She came up with the plan during a meeting about the future of public transport with First Bus officials.

The group would expand on the work already carried out by Transport for South Hampshire (TfSH), which works with bus firms in the county.

‘TfSH looks more into the commercial side of things and this would look more into making changes that would benefit the community,’ Ms Mordaunt said.

‘I want to see a board with a wide membership of people that will look at things long term. They would also be more strategic and not focus on dealing with an immediate budgetary crisis.

‘This is a good way forward and it means issues can be given attention.

‘I want to see services being brought up to scratch with ones in other major cities.’

As previously reported in The News, First Bus announced sweeping changes to routes in November but it has promised to make alterations following fierce opposition from residents, MPs and councillors.

The bus company will change 15 routes across Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Waterlooville from Sunday, March 17.

Muriel Deacon, president of Portsmouth Pensioners Association, said: ‘It seems like a good idea. It’s important that elderly people get involved in this process as they sometimes get left out of the loop. The recent changes affected them.’

A spokeswoman for First Bus said things were still in the early stages and an announcement would be made at a later date.

‘It’s not something we can talk about as of yet,’ she said.

‘It was thrown around as an idea.’