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To: Hampshire County Council, Bluestar bus company and the Department for Transport

Better Buses for the Waterside (New Forest): More frequent, more reliable and fairer fares

We, the undersigned, are calling on Hampshire County Council,  Bluestar bus company and the Department for Transport to work together to deliver better buses for the Waterside. We want more reliable and more frequent buses as well as fairer fares.

Frequency: We want more frequent services to Marchwood, Challenger Way, Fawley and Calshot; direct services to Southampton General Hospital and Lymington and the restoration of the Beach Bus in summer to Lepe. We want better frequency at off-peak times, including early mornings, evenings and weekends.

Reliability: We want to see an end to buses being cancelled with little or no warning.

Fairer fares: We want the £2 adult single fare cap to be retained beyond December 31, 2024, when it is due to end. If fares return to their old commercial level without the cap, it would cost more than £8 for a return ticket to Southampton. We also want London-style Hopper fares, meaning passengers would only pay £2 if they changed buses within an hour of boarding the first bus. 

Why is this important?

The infrequent and unreliable bus service is having a damaging impact on people of all ages on the Waterside. 
Waterside Changemakers, a grassroots group trying to make life easier in the cost of living crisis, recently surveyed 272 people about the bus service. We heard shocking stories of how the poor bus service is affecting people’s ability to get to work, school, college, and appointments at hospitals and GP surgeries. Waterside residents are even having to turn down job opportunities because they cannot rely on the buses.
Nearly two thirds of people say buses are not frequent enough: 44.5% of respondents say availability of buses is ‘Poor’ on the Waterside, with a further 19.5% rating it as ‘Very Poor’. A majority of respondents are also unhappy with the reliability of buses: 36.4% say reliability is ‘Poor’ and 16.5% say it is ‘Very Poor’. The Lymington Times reported here on our survey.

Worryingly, 37.4% of people we surveyed have no access to a car and are reliant on public transport.  Without better buses, there is a real risk that smaller towns and villages like Marchwood, Holbury, Blackfield, Langley, Fawley and Calshot are simply going to be left behind. 

Buses can be a lifeline, connecting communities, providing better opportunities for work and study, easing loneliness, and improving lives throughout the Waterside.

Hythe SO45, UK

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2024-06-24 14:58:39 +0100

We had a brilliant picnic at Calshot Beach to officially launch our campaign for Better Buses for the Waterside. We had some great, passionate speeches by our members and also from the Campaign For Better Transport. It was attended by most of the parliamentary candidates for New Forest East. Thanks everyone for your support!

2024-06-23 16:33:30 +0100

100 signatures reached

2024-06-20 17:00:30 +0100

50 signatures reached

2024-06-20 01:54:59 +0100

25 signatures reached

2024-06-19 20:17:27 +0100

10 signatures reached