Passengers call for return of bus routeBy Laura Nightingale
September 21, 2012
PASSENGERS are urging bus company Stagecoach to change the timetable of one of its services to accommodate a valuable bus route in Yateley that was reduced last year.
Bus users who rely on public transport say they cannot access vital services in the district as the current Stagecoach timetable, described as ‘rubbish’ and a ‘disaster’ by customers, does not link in with other bus services.
Hook resident Mandy Butler has set up a transport working group to campaign for a revised timetable so people wanting to get to the doctors, hospital and shops can do so easily.
Mrs Butler, also a parish councillor for Hook, said: “People living in the Hook area have difficulties getting to Fleet and the A30, and people using the service in the opposite direction from Yateley struggle to get to destinations in the Basingstoke direction.
“The 100 bus service has a really rubbish timetable and it does not support everybody.
“We had no say when the 100 service came into effect and it does not connect with the present number 10 service.
“People who cannot drive are really stuck, it really affects their lives.”
Campaigners want to see minor changes to the current journey so people, especially older passengers, can get to their nearest bus stop easily.
A bus stop at Cricket Hill in Yateley is one of the suggestions for the revised timetable.
The number 10 service used to run from Camberley to Basingstoke and called at a number of rural stops along the way. It was one of a number of services in the area that faced the axe after Hampshire County Council advised it could no longer subsidise all existing routes due to significant cuts in its funding.
However, instead of withdrawing it completely, from October 2011 the county council limited the service from Basingstoke to Odiham, meaning it no longer went to Camberley.
With a reduced service the number 100 was launched to run alongside the old service, providing transport for those in Hook, Hartley Wintney and Yateley.
Councillor David Simpson, who represents Hartley Wint-ney, Eversley and Yateley at Hampshire County Council, said: “The current timetable is certainly not working at the moment. Mandy Butler is the driving force behind this campaign and she is trying to press ahead with it.
“A revised timetable would give Stagecoach more passengers because the bus would go to places where people want to get on. It would bring income to the company and provide a better service for residents.”
The majority of parish and town councils along the bus route are getting on board and trying to come up with an accessible timetable to replace the present one.
Mrs Butler is pushing for a meeting between the community transport working group and Stagecoach.
She said with the potential prospect of thousands of new homes being built in the district as part of Hart District Council’s core strategy, the need for a better bus service will be even greater.
Mrs Butler wants as many people in the area to join her campaign for a revised bus timetable to demonstrate to Stagecoach that action must be taken.
A spokesman for Stagecoach, said: “We are aware of the concerns raised by Mandy Butler.
“Service 10 was reduced last year due to cuts in county council funding.
“We intend to review the services jointly with Hampshire County Council in the autumn, however, at this stage we are unable to provide any indication as to what changes could be made.
“We will co-operate with any working groups established by the council to listen to the views of local residents.”