Timetable change fears are focused around QA trips

First bus services have changed
First bus services have changed
Daniel Williams as King Charles I at Portsmouth Car Ferry Terminal, Gunwharf. Picture: Byron Melton

WATCH: Why King Charles I caught a Wightlink ferry across the Solent this morning

Have your say

FRESH fears about journeys to and from Queen Alexandra Hospital have been raised at a First Group roadshow.

The firm’s major shake-up of its entire network has once again left some older people worried they will take far longer to reach medical appointments.

Almost every route in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Waterlooville will get new timetables from Sunday, November 18 in a bid to modernise First’s service.

This has prompted thousands of people to visit roadshows taking place across the area this week to pick up new timetables and maps, as well as ask questions.

Employees of the company who were in Commercial Road, Landport, Portsmouth yesterday said they had received a good response and were able to reassure many people who thought their local services would be disappearing.

But Ray and Pearl Hawkins, of Telephone Road, Southsea, said they were not very impressed with the changes.

Mr Hawkins, 81, said: ‘If I need to get to QA at the moment I can get on the number three bus and be there in 25 minutes.

‘But after the changes it looks as if I’ll have to change at The Hard and it will take much longer.

‘I would like to see more competition for First from Stagecoach, they offer a good service and are often cheaper.’

Pat Southern, 74, of St Chad’s Avenue, North End, said she was worried the buses would stop further away from the hospital entrance.

‘It might be hard for some older people walking up those steps,’ she said. ‘But the buses are going every 10 minutes, so that’s an improvement.’

First inspector Caroline Jones said some changes had already been made to the network, but others would have to wait until after the new services went live.

‘One woman in Gosport said she had to catch the bus to work very early every morning,’ she said. ‘But it always drove past her and started its service further up the road.

‘That’s the kind of common-sense change we can make now.’

She added: ‘Some people would like a bus from outside their door to wherever they want to go. But that is not a bus service, that is a taxi.’

To find out more about the changes call 0870 010 6022.