Paulsgrove residents’ anger as change to bus route is introduced

DISAPPOINTED First bus services are set to change in Portsmouth
DISAPPOINTED First bus services are set to change in Portsmouth
Breakdown workers preparing to haul out of the sea one of the cars involved in an accident on the Havant by-pass

THIS WEEK IN 1970: Havant by-pass cars plunge into the sea

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BUS passengers in Paulsgrove are angry about changes to the timetable.

The Paulsgrove Residents Association, which meets every month, discussed changes to the number 2 First bus service.

The bus goes from Gunwharf Quays to Hillsley Road in Paulsgrove, every 10 minutes.

But as reported, this will stop from January 26, as the bus service changes its routes. From then it will start and stop its journeys at the Southampton Road end of Allaway Avenue, and so will not serve the parade of shops.

Passengers travelling to and from the city centre will still be able to use the number 18 service, which runs every half hour.

Resident Melissa Healy, of Ludlow Road, Paulsgrove, is disabled, and relies on the service.

She said: ‘I am not happy about this change. I am disabled, which means I cannot drive, and rely on the buses.

‘These changes are not fair for vulnerable people such as the elderly and disabled. We also want a reliable service.’

Chrissie Bainbridge is the general manager for First bus in Hampshire.

She said the change to the number 2 service has been made because it wasn’t being used enough and accident rates had increased.

She said: ‘With the current number 2 route, there are two issues.

‘Since November 2012, we have recorded an average of 2.8 passengers per journey.

‘Because the bus goes every 10 minutes, we found an increase in accidents, as two buses are passing in small streets.

‘If the bus service was being used, we would look into how better to manage traffic – if there was a demand for the service.

‘There will still be the number 18, which will go every half an hour.’

She said that the association’s previous request for a direct service to Fratton had been listened to.

Councillor John Ferrett, leader of the Labour group on the city council, asked whether a consultation could take place before the changes came into play.

He said: ‘If the proposals were put forward in a consultation, then there is a chance for the bus company to reflect on people’s views. The service should be there to help those who feel isolated.’

Mrs Bainbridge said it is not always possible to hold consultations for all changes.