Discontent at First route changes

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Man is hit by vehicle in Cosham

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THE latest announcement by First comes as unhappy residents continue to adapt to radical changes it made to the bus network.

On the first day of the new timetable – Sunday, November 18 – people complained of having to take two buses on routes which used to be direct and of being unable to get to specific destinations.

The next day a group of school children waiting for the 3A on Lowestoft Road, Wymering, were at the stop for more than 40 minutes after two services in a row were delayed, meaning they were late for registration at King Richards School, Paulsgrove. Since then many more have complained of being unable to get to specific destinations, having to take two buses where previously there was one direct service, longer journey times, and less frequent services.

First responded to the criticism by saying it would look to make further changes, and in doing so began running a larger bus on the number three service.

Children who had been previously using this service to get to King Richard’s School, in Paulsgrove, said they were late for school two days in a row after their bus was more than 40 minutes late.

The News also reported how others have commented that connection times are too long, drivers do not seem to know their new routes, buses are not arriving when they are timetabled to, and that when they do arrive they are so full that no more passengers are allowed on.

Rival bus firm Stagecoach has decided to set up a new bus service between Southsea and Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, following residents’ complaints about the changes.

People in Southsea said they were left without a direct route to the hospital and Stagecoach decided to alter its number 20 service. The change is a result of meetings with Portsmouth City Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel, which operators attended to discuss bus services serving the hospital. It will start on January 7, with the first bus departing from Albert/Festing Road at 6.02am. The last departure from the hospital to Southsea is at 8.39pm.

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘The price hike is outrageous. People are already unhappy at services being cut back. We are all in the hands of the bus companies. They have got us over a barrel.’