First reveals bus service changes

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First has announced changes to services
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BUS services across the area are set for more changes.

First has unveiled new schedules which includes rerouted buses and switches to the frequency of others.

It comes after the company announced price increases to its adult fares, which, as reported, will see returns go up between 5p and 30p and singles from 5p to 20p.

Matt Callow, First Hampshire and Dorset’s commercial manager, said: ‘As a result of continuing customer feedback, we have amended several of our routes to improve services and better reflect the region’s travel patterns.

‘For example, 64 per cent more customers are using our E1/E2 instead of the services it replaced. Its popularity means we can now extend its frequency on Sundays — therefore services on that route will run every 10 minutes.

‘Service 7 from Wecock Farm to Portsmouth is also very popular. We were aware that its morning timetable needed to be slightly altered to accommodate the high numbers of students using it to take them to South Downs College. We are delighted that we have been able to adjust this service to meet their needs.’

The route changes will include the 17 and 18 services, in Portsmouth, redirected around Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, extra night time Eclipse services and an increased frequency to Oaklands School, in Waterlooville.

Mr Callow added: ‘We have also made other changes that reduce frequency or where routes have been altered.

‘Given the current challenging economic climate, increasing cuts, cuts in government funding and the high price of fuel, we cannot justify running services that only carry a handful of customers.

‘The changes we are implementing much better reflect customer demand. The new network will help us to increase passenger numbers and we are confident of being able to convince even more people to give up their cars and consider using the bus more often.’

The news was welcomed by users of the Eclipse service at Fareham bus station.

Jean Frost, 81, from Gosport, said: ‘That’s wonderful news. The Eclipse is a fantastic service, it is the best thing that’s ever happened to Gosport.’

Alex Chapman, 20, from Forton, said: ‘It is a good idea. It is definitely an improvement on the old service. They have the proof that a good service works.’

Keith Randall, 69, from Meadowland Road, said: ‘The Eclipse is an excellent service, however some of the others can be patchy. I wish they would invest more into the number 3.’

The changes will come into effect on Sunday, January 26.

Changes being made to the First bus services from Sunday 26 January 2014 are:

· Service E1-E2 (Eclipse service Gosport-Fareham) Sunday daytime frequency of the service increase between 10.00hrs and 17.10hrs to run every 10 minutes through the busway. On Monday to Saturday evenings, an extra late night journey will run at 23.28hrs from Fareham Railway Station to Gosport and two extra late night journeys from Gosport at 23.41hrs and 00.11hrs will return to First’s Fareham depot.

· Service 2 (Gunwharf-Paulsgrove) The service will now terminate at Allaway Avenue at Paulsgrove Shops. The route will change to serve Ludlow Road instead of Allaway Avenue between Paulsgrove Shops and Upper Wymering. Hillsley Road will now be served by a revised Service 18.

· Service 4 4A (Southampton-Gosport/Fareham) The current 4A service which starts and finishes at Queen Anne’s School will operate in place of the 4B.

· Service 5/5A (Fareham-Gosport Service 5A between Fareham, Stubbington and Hill Head will be replaced by the contracted, revised Service 21. Service 5 between Fareham, Stubbington, Lee on the Solent and Gosport will be increased to operate every 30 minutes via Stokes Bay.

· Service 6/6A (Fareham-Gosport) The 6/6A services around Highlands will now be provided by the new Service F1 while Service F2 goes via Maylings Farm and Frosthole.

· Service 7/7C (Wecock Farm-Portsmouth) Additional journeys will run during morning peaks between Portsmouth City Centre and South Downs College/Oaklands School to accommodate the huge demand for travel at this time. Several service 7C journeys on the same route will operate as normal service 7 journeys.

· Service 8/X8 (Clanfield-Portsmouth) The service will be amended to operate between Clanfield’s Drift Road and Portsmouth. Service X8 (one journey at 07.25hrs from Clanfield) will be replaced by a normal 8 service. Timetable changes to morning and afternoon peak journeys will be made to reflect this.

· Service 9/9A (Gosport-Fareham) The service will be amended to run between Fareham, Bridgemary, Rowner, Stoke Road and Gosport operating every fifteen minutes during the day The service from West End will now be served via Bishopsfield Road (the revised service 5) and Redlands Lane (the present E1/E2 service). At the southern end of the route, all buses will operate from Rowner to Browndown, Gomer Lane and via Stoke Road to Gosport Ferry. The section of route between Rowner, Brockhurst, Elson and Gosport (operated as the 9A) will be withdrawn. Monday to Saturday evening services will now finish at about 19.30hrs.

· Service 10 (Gosport-Fareham) The service will no longer run from Royal Clarence Yard, but in response to customer requests, it will now be diverted to serve Spring Garden Lane and Creek Road. The service will remain hourly Monday to Saturday, but will stop running after 16.30hrs.

· Service 11 (Gosport-Fareham) The service which will operate directly between Fareham, Fleetlands, Brockhurst, Forton Road and Gosport Ferry on a two hourly basis between Monday to Saturday, and will additionally serve Alverstoke Village and Haslar.

· Service 15 (Hayling Ferry-Portsmouth) There will be a revised morning timetable, allowing hourly departures from Hayling Ferry between 07.05hrs and 20.00hrs on Mondays to Fridays and between 0800 and 2000 on Saturdays.

· Service 17/18 (Tipner-Southsea-Paulsgrove) Service 18 will be extended to start and finish at Hillsley Road. The route will be amended around Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham to serve common bus stops. Instead of running via London Road and Southwick Hill Road, the new route will run via Southampton Road, past the main entrance to the hospital and Sevenoaks Road, before returning to Southampton Road. There will be consequent changes to the timetable of both the 17 and 18 routes.

· Service 20 (Fareham-Wickham) First has successfully bid for this tendered service, which remains unchanged from the current timetable and route.

· Service 21 (Fareham-Stubbington-Hill Head) The new Service 21 (contracted to the County Council) will continue to provide links between Fareham, Newgate Lane, Stubbington and Hill Head.

· Service 22 (North Portchester-Cosham) This service between North Portchester, Portchester, Paulsgrove and Cosham High Street is being replaced by the F3 service that will now link North Portchester with Fareham.

· Service 26 (Fareham-Hedge End) This tendered service will continue operating to the current timetable and route. The only amendment is that the late afternoon service from about 1630 from Fareham will operate about 15 minutes later than previously.

· Service 28 (Warsash-Fareham) First will run this tendered service. Daytime services will be diverted to serve Fareham College, Longmynd Drive, Greyshott Avenue and Wild Ridings to allow a day-time shopping service. The 07.00hrs departure from Fareham will be extended to serve Tesco at Whiteley, and the current 17.04hrs from Whiteley Parkway will be started instead at Whiteley Tescos at 17.02hrs.

· Services SD4 SD5 SD6 and 52 At the request of the College, these special services for South Downs College (from Gosport, Warsash, Bishops Waltham and Fareham) will be diverted between Cosham and South Downs College, to run via Portsdown Hill Road and College Road instead of via London Road and Ladybridge Road.

· New Service F1 (Fareham-Highlands) A partial replacement service for the withdrawn Service 6, this bus will run between Fareham Bus Station, Fareham Railway Station, Blackbrook Road, Highlands Shops and Thorni Avenue. It will operate on a daily, half hourly basis

· New Service F2 (Fareham-Frosthole Crescent) A partial replacement service for Service 6, this hourly service will run between Fareham Bus Station, Trinity Street, Maylings Farm Road and Frosthole Crescent. It will complete the entire loop of Frosthole and then returns to Fareham via Maylings Farm.

· New Service F3 (Fareham-Portchester) A partial replacement service for Service 22, this bus will run between Fareham Bus Station, North Portchester Dore Avenue and Portchester Precinct on a two hourly basis, Monday to Saturdays.

For full details of the changes and new timetables, visit the website, or find First Hampshire on Facebook and on Twitter,