Village’s bus problem could be solved by charity

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A CHARITY has come up with a solution that could provide a village’s bus service if its existing service is cut by First.

Community Action Fareham has put together a plan which would see the Titchfield community chip in to raise funds to run its own not-for-profit service should bus company First pull out.

First announced its intention to reroute the 4A away from the village last year after its buses were being increasingly damaged along the narrow South Street.

As reported, the council has put out proposals to change parking in the Square and remove bays from South Street, although a decision has not yet been made.

Traders are unhappy as they feel losing these spaces would have a detrimental impact on their business.

Chairman of Community Action Fareham Raymond Hale said the scheme would benefit Titchfield and people who live along Greyshott Avenue and Longmynd Drive, who were cut off when their bus was rerouted in January.

Mr Hale said: ‘We run many bus services already – community support and dial-a-ride to help people such as the elderly and people in wheelchairs – so we can run another paying bus service if we get the community behind us.’

Mr Hale said the charity has found a 22-seater bus that could start at Warsash Road, go through Titchfield to Fareham bus station, via Greyshott Avenue and Longmynd Drive.

To start this service the charity would need to raise £80,000.

It would cost another £130,000 to run per year, which could be offset by charging fares, although the council has reassured the charity that people could still use concessionary passes as the charity could claim the concessionary rate.

Mr Hale said: ‘We cannot do anything until a decision is made by First to stop serving South Street. We feel we have the community support and we are ready.’

County councillor Geoff Hockley said he was for the idea: ‘It is a super idea and that sort of bus that Titchfield could do very well with.

‘The whole proposal is super and it would be good for Titchfield, but I cannot take it any further until a decision has been made about the 4A.’

Fareham Borough Council is conducting parking surveys in the village and a decision is expected in the spring.