Councillors call for bus route to be kept

A First bus
A First bus
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CALLS have been made to make a temporary bus route permanent.

Councillors Alan Scard and Bob Forder, from Gosport Borough Council, are keen to see the route for the number 11 service change.

Councillor Alan Scard

Councillor Alan Scard

When Haslar Bridge closed for repairs earlier in the year, the service was diverted and now makes more stops in Anglesey and Alverstoke.

To see what people think of the changes Cllr Scard, with help from Anglesey Action Team member Philip Raffaelli, created a questionnaire and about four-fifths of respondents are in favour of the changed route.

He said: ‘I’m not surprised that so many people prefer the new route.

‘It serves a lot more people and saves them having to catch more than one bus to go to the shops in Stoke Road.

‘The service is subsidised by Hampshire County Council during the week and Gosport Borough Council on Saturdays and I think we should work to see about changing the route permanently.

‘But I wanted to see what the residents thought first which is why I sent out the questionnaire.’

Before Haslar Bridge closed, the service would go from the Gosport ferry to Stoke Road, towards Anglesey Road before going onto Clayhall Road and over Haslar Bridge to the town centre.

Now it follows a similar route but rather than going over the bridge on the return route, it goes back through Clayhall Road and Anglesey Road and on to South Street.

Figures from operator First found there was a 10 per cent increase in passengers between July and September compared to March to May.

Cllr Scard added: ‘The service now means people can get to Gosport War Memorial Hospital and other businesses in that area.

‘One bus serves the whole area making it more convenient and easier for passengers.’

Cllr Scard, who has lived in that area of Gosport nearly all his life, came up with the new route after the county council was going to miss out Anglesey after the bridge closed.

He was unhappy with their suggestions for the temporary route so got in his car and found a new one.

‘I thought it was important to have a route which doesn’t leave a whole ward out,’ he said.

‘I hope when Haslar Bridge is back open we can look at keeping the route because it helps a lot more people.’

Leader of the council Mark Hook has commended the efforts of Cllrs Scard and Forder.

He said: ‘The changes they want to make shows the value of a councillor. Alan not only thought about the new route but also convinced First to implement it.

‘Hopefully the bus company will support the outcome of the consultation.’