USERS of a bus which links Chineham to the town centre are being left in a lay-by as a result of changes made to the service.
The new Jazz 7 bus which serves Chineham every 15 minutes is part of ‘network improvements’ made to bus services across Basingstoke, introduced by Stagecoach this month.
Before the changes, Chineham was served by the Jazz 1 which ran every 12 minutes, taking passengers to the town centre bus station.
But the new service is dropping passengers off at a lay-by in Churchill Way, near the bus station, used by National Express coaches.
Passengers have said that bus times are not showing up on the information board at the bus station because of the new pick-up point location.
Councillor Martin Biermann, Independent borough councillor for Chineham, said: “It looks to me as if it is more to do with improving profits than service.
“People have nowhere to sit down, and all of the other bus stops have seating by the bus stop and they can sit down while they are waiting.
“It just seems completely bizarre and because the bus is not in a regular bay, the bus isn’t appearing on the timetable. On top of it all, kids who go to Cranbourne School used to be able to go directly to school but they now have to get off at the bus station and get another bus to go to the school.”
Mike Jarvis uses the service to get to town. The 74-year-old grandfather-of-seven, who lives with wife Jo in St Leonard’s Avenue, Chineham, said: “The lay-by will only hold one coach.”
He said that this resulted in the Chineham bus having to wait while National Express coaches used the lay-by.
Mr Jarvis added: “The fact there is no seating there is a great nuisance. Chineham no longer exists as far as the bus station is concerned.”
He added: “None of the people seem to have been consulted. The National Express driver knew nothing about it and it seems to have been handled very badly.”
Stagecoach failed to comment on the changes to the Chineham bus when contacted by The Gazette.