Stagecoach are cutting back on the 86 service to Winchester, increasing the frequency of the 76 Basingstoke – Whitchurch – Andover route, and making changes to routing and bus stops throughout the town.
Improvements in communication needed
The Drop-in session was arranged by local Town Councillor John Buckley who believes communication and consultation between the bus company, the County Council and users needs to be improved.
“The changes that come in at the end of August were only discovered from an informal conversation with a driver and there has been a serious lack of any official communication, not just from Stagecoach but also from the local authorities” he said. “When livelihoods rely on bus services we deserve better”.
Borough Councillor Keith Watts has also been working hard behind the scenes to ensure local views can be considered. He has been actively lobbying for improvements and is setting up meetings to discuss this.
Reasons for change
Stagecoach have stated the changes are necessary on commercial and operational grounds with some services being uneconomic while some routes have become too dangerous and congested.
Issues raised by local residents included concerns over cuts on the 86 Winchester service, the loss of bus stops on London Street and at Kings Walk, the risks to pedestrians and property of buses mounting pavements in the Town Centre, the dangers of using Lynch Hill Park for buses and the removal of a service from the south of the town to the railway station. Parking controls, HGV movements and the town’s future growth were also raised as factors that need addressing.
New Bus stops
Meanwhile Driver Training has been undertaken by Stagecoach on the revised routes; the timetables are being produced and new bus stops have been installed on Lynch Hill Park and on the Station Road/Evingar circuit.
A short Questionnaire was used to collect comments which will now be collated and the main issues will be presented to Stagecoach.
The Questionnaire can be downloaded from here: Bus Questionnaire Aug 2015, and can be dropped into the Town Hall.