Scepticism over plans to change bus network

First buses at the Hilsea bus stop.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (123807-4)
First buses at the Hilsea bus stop. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (123807-4)
Daniel Williams as King Charles I at Portsmouth Car Ferry Terminal, Gunwharf. Picture: Byron Melton

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PASSENGERS say they are sceptical about further changes being made to bus routes across the network.

People feel First Bus’ decision to revamp 15 of its services across Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Waterlooville could lead to more confusion and problems. The changes, which take effect from March 17, come after the firm made radical changes to its timetable last year.

Allen Parton, 54, is a disabled Gulf War veteran who uses buses to get from his home in Clanfield to Portsmouth.

He said: ‘I’m sceptical because the initial changes were supposedly done after carrying out customer surveys and now they’re changing everything again.

‘It makes me think about who on earth is making these decisions.’

Darren Richards, 37, of Paulsgrove, whose daughter Alley, 11, was left stranded on her way home from Springfield School, said: ‘I’m sceptical about the changes but fingers crossed this will work things out. Others have been in a similar situation to Alley.’

As part of the revamp service 0 is being withdrawn and being replaced with services 17 and 18 which will improve connections to areas of Portsmouth. First Bus said more changes could be made in the future.

A First Bus spokeswoman said: ‘We constantly review our networks and will consider any changes that are necessary to improve them.

‘All changes to the network though need to be planned in advance and we have to give the traffic commissioner 56 days notice before they can be introduced.’