Fareham and Gosport bus routes cut and changed

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BUS services have been cut by £1.5m as the council looks to save money by ending early starts for older people, cutting Sunday services and altering routes.

Executive member for transport Sean Woodward signed off the proposals at a Hampshire County Council meeting yesterday.

Fareham First Bus depot

Fareham First Bus depot

The proposals will see the 9am start for the older person’s bus pass moved to 9.30am saving £300,000 per year, as well as a raft of changes to services including the number 21, which will no longer serve Lee-on-the-Solent.

Cllr Christopher Wood, who represents Crofton, was pleased that the number 21 had been retained, despite losing a Saturday evening service, and that it would be taking a more direct route to Fareham.

Cllr Wood said: ‘I am very pleased as it is exactly what the residents have been asking for, the council has listened.

‘The number 21 should never have gone to Lee in the first place. The key thing is the frequency in Hill Head has increased and the journey time to Fareham has decreased.’

The council currently spends £20m a year subsiding bus services, of which £13.5m is used to provide older people with a free bus pass.

Cllr Woodward said that he had made a ‘difficult decision’ but that he had gone by the results of a council survey.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘Residents have reacted fairly positive to the Monday to Friday services being retained.

‘We had more than 3,200 residents comment on bus subsidy, saying that Monday to Friday was their priority.’

On the flip side, Cllr Burgess, who represents Lee, labelled the cuts as ‘disgusting’ and said he would be calling in the decision.

Cllr Burgess said: ‘It is disgusting that Lee-on-the-Solent has suffered more cuts. The council is saying that anybody from Lee that wants to go to Fareham only wants to go to Asda so they can get the free shuttle bus, I’m saying that is not good enough.’

Bus users in Fareham yesterday spoke of their upset at seeing more changes to bus services.

Nora Brett, of Longmynd Drive, Fareham, said: ‘It is a shame that the council are continuing to make further cuts to the buses.’

Anthony Ling, of Lancaster Close, Fareham, said: ‘I pity the more outlying areas, as older members of the public, like myself, may have no other means of transport to turn to’