Stubbington and Hill Head passengers in fight to save the No35 bus

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THE fight is under way to save a vital bus service that faces the axe.

More than 200 people have signed a petition calling on Hampshire County Council to change its mind about route 35, which runs from western Stubbington and Hill Head to Fareham train station.

Councillor Mel Kendal, in charge of transport matters, agreed to remove £2.2m from the authority’s £6.7m bus subsidy budget in July.

Although he promised no-one in the county would be left without transport, it means 13 services in Fareham, Gosport and Havant will be reduced or cancelled altogether.

The proposals are expected to come into effect in October.

Councillor Jim Forrest, borough ward councillor for Stubbington, said: ‘The proposed deletion of the 35 service from Fareham to and from Hill Head has the effect of a complete withdrawal for part of its route.

‘While the 33 will give an hourly service to the western parts of Stubbington and Hill Head, its route via Gosport Road and Newgate Lane means that there will no longer be a direct service from these areas to Fareham railway station and Fareham College.’

But a revised timetable has now been proposed after lobbying from Cllr Forrest and his Hill Head colleague Cllr Tim Knight.

This will keep daytime services on the 35, and gives early morning links to the railway station and the college.

Cllr Forrest added: ‘Services from Hill Head and western Stubbington will still end earlier in the evening than before, which is bad news for people working in Fareham who already had difficulty getting a bus home from work, but at least the route has not been extinguished.

‘Clearly the planners just looked at place names on the timetable and assumed the 33 and 35 served the same people because they start and finish at the same places.

‘We need to encourage people to use the buses as much as possible.’

Cllr Kendal was not available for comment.