RESIDENTS have been left seething after a ‘bizarre’ decision was made to suddenly scrap a popular bus running from Old Portsmouth to Southsea.
First Bus has abandoned its number 1 route – much to the dismay of locals who say the change will inevitably ‘have a huge impact on lives’.
The route provided a circular service around the city, running every 10 minutes from Monday to Saturday and operating at 20-minute intervals on a Sunday.
As well as linking Portsmouth and Southsea shopping centres, the bus service also adjoined the majority of key destinations in the city, including the Historic Dockyard, Gunwharf, Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral, Hotwalls Studios, Clarence Pier, D-Day Story, Pyramids, South Parade Pier, Canoe Lake and Fratton Park.
‘It’s our city’s equivalent of London’s circle line and is very popular and well used by passengers, both residents and the many visitors to the city,’ a letter from Friends of Old Portsmouth Association to Portsmouth City Council and First Bus read.
‘Regardless of what First Bus might have you believe, it is not being replaced by a comparable service.
‘The route currently followed by the number 1 will be split and will not travel along High Street in Old Portsmouth and not service the key bus stop at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral.’
The letter continued: ‘The community has had no explanation as to why this service has been removed and the notification of the change has been totally inadequate.
‘The small signs posted at bus stops are misleading by omission, there is no information about the change on the bus and drivers have given some misleading information to passengers who ask.’
Pam Turton, assistant director for transport at the city council, says that discussions are still ongoing.
She said: ‘We have been in discussions with First Bus and asked them to consider an alternative routing of the number 8 and number 3 service to serve residents in Old Portsmouth. Discussions are still taking place with First Bus and other operators.’
The change is part of First Bus’ overall amendments of routes which it says will ‘help with service punctuality to better reflect usage with a few route changes to avoid traffic blackspots and improve overall efficiency’.