Fareham passenger anger at First bus service change

UPSET Sue Phillimore is angry at the loss of some low floor buses from her route.  Picture: Sarah Standing (113920-7496)
UPSET Sue Phillimore is angry at the loss of some low floor buses from her route. Picture: Sarah Standing (113920-7496)
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PASSENGERS say they are struggling to get on buses after First reintroduced several old vehicles – without a low floor.

Elderly people, mums with pushchairs and the disabled have found the old buses difficult to access as they have a narrower entrance and a step.

They have been brought back to some popular routes in Fareham such as the 93, 93A and 95A.

First Bus says it is working towards a deadline of 2017 which will see all buses having low floors, but at the moment the company operates a mixture of vehicles.

The firm said it has happened before and that it does not guarantee low floor buses.

Sue Phillimore, 62, from Hillson Drive in Fareham, who has difficulties walking and uses the routes affected, said: ‘I walk with a stick. If I take my trolley to go shopping then when I try to get up I get tangled up a bit. There’s nowhere to put my trolley.

‘You can’t leave it in the aisle because it’s a safety hazard.

‘With these buses, they are a nightmare. There is no room between the stairs to put my trolley.

‘I shop not just for myself but for another person who is unable to get out.

‘People can’t get on with pushchairs.

‘Unless you are able to climb up the steps it’s a great difficulty for a lot of people. There are a lot of people more in need than myself. It’s not on.’

Councillor Peter Davies, public transport representative for Fareham Borough Council, added: ‘Those who are disabled could find it incredibly difficult to get on them.

‘How do you manage if you have got a toddler with a pushchair or you have got a stick?

‘How do you manage if you have got lots of shopping?’

A First Bus spokeswoman could not explain exactly why the old buses had been reintroduced to the Fareham routes, but said: ‘On occasion it can be necessary to substitute a bus for a non low floor one, for example if one of the low floor buses requires maintenance.

‘They are part of the fleet and if all the other low floor vehicles are being used elsewhere or are off the road then they will be used instead to ensure that we are able to deliver a service.’