AN MP who has fought for what she said is a much-needed bus service outside a hospital has been told it would not be viable.
Fareham MP Suella Braverman has been told by First Bus a stop outside Fareham Community Hospital would not be profitable enough to run – despite her argument it would only mean a minor change to one current route.
In a letter sent by First Bus’ managing director, Marc Reddy, he states a lack of customers and possible disruption to the current route make any service to the hospital unviable.
And Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward agrees there is no viable service to be had outside the hospital, and that that has always been the case, following his attempts to see one introduced years ago and running a trial that wasn’t used.
Mrs Braverman said: ‘Footfall at the hospital is set to increase as we have seen greater utilisation over the years and the success of the same-day-access-service, launched in September, which is now available to 39,000 patients.
‘So the services will become more viable over time.
‘It is important that we strengthen links with the hospital to support patients unable to drive and as its usage is set to grow.
‘I will be continuing to hold talks with First Bus and others to ensure appropriate transport measures are in place.’
The MP added that more than 99 per cent of respondents to a survey she administered supported a bus stop at the hospital.
Patients currently get off at Bridge Road, which is the closet stop, and walk down Brook Lane.
Councillor Woodward said: ‘I tried to do this five years ago. I got First Bus to trial a service but it wasn’t used. At the end of the day the company is there to make a profit.
‘We also tried something called taxi share and that didn’t work.
‘The hospital doesn't have an inpatients, most visits there are fairly short, unless a bus comes every five or 10 minutes nobody is going to be okay with getting to the hospital half-an-hour early and having to leave one hour after their appointment, for example.
‘I’m sure if First Bus thought 99 per cent of people would use the service they would introduce it, but sadly that’s not the case.’
When the hospital opened in 2010 the number 28 bus was provided from the Locks Heath Shopping Village to the Hospital.
In October 2012 it was announced this service was to be withdrawn as First Bus stated it was underused.