Transport bosses reconsider bus cut between Popley and Basingstoke hospital

PUBLIC pressure over cuts to bus services from Popley to Basingstoke hospital has forced transport bosses to reconsider the move.

Talks between bus operator Stagecoach, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Hampshire County and Basingstoke and Deane Borough councils are taking place in a bid to launch a more frequent bus service between Popley and the hospital.

The previous two-mile Stagecoach-run loop on Route 5 was axed in October 2011 after the company said it could not afford to run the link following a 45 per cent cut in county subsidies.

The funding cut also forced Stagecoach to stop all buses after 9.30pm, and scale back Sunday buses.

Talks about a new hospital service proposal follow a public consultation event in Brighton Hill and Popley in September this year. According to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, more than 100 people attended the Friday drop-in session.

Popley residents highlighted that a reduced service meant they had to travel through the town centre, bumping up their journey time and ticket cost to reach the hospital.

And in Brighton Hill, residents and students complained to Stagecoach senior managers, including Stagecoach South managing director Andrew Dyer, about bus service reliability, overcrowding and the lack of evening services.

Councillor Cathy Osselton, Basingstoke and Deane’s Cabinet member for partnerships, said: “It is great that things are already moving forward to try to help the people in Popley cut off from the hospital by the bus changes. The borough council itself subsidises some non-commercial routes and we need to make sure that all public money going to this makes the most difference to residents who would otherwise be cut off from facilities and services.”

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