IT was a victory for bus users campaigning for a better link between Popley and Basingstoke hospital, when Stagecoach announced a more frequent service.
The bus company responded to concerns raised at a drop-in session following public transport changes, and has now decided to provide extra buses to the hospital in Aldermaston Road.
Working with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the new timetable will come into force from April 14, when there will be six direct buses every hour during the day between the town centre and hospital. Route 4, which runs from the east, through Popley to the hospital, will also be more frequent, with additional half hour journeys from Abbey Road to the hospital in the early mornings. The return journey will also run four times between 6.20am and 8.25am, then hourly until 8.30pm, benefiting hospital workers who will no longer have to face a lengthy journey via the town centre.
The decision was made following a consultation in September, when Popley residents raised issues about long journey times for those trying to get to work at the hospital, visit someone or attend an appointment. Stagecoach did consider the possibility of providing a direct bus link between the hospital and Popley Way, but found it was not viable because of the very low passenger numbers.
Councillor Cathy Osselton, the borough council’s cabinet member for partnerships, said: “I am really glad that Stagecoach has taken such a positive approach to improving journey times for residents following the sessions. This is an example of a company working together with public services – council and the hospital – to make things better for a community we all serve.”
She added: “This should help to make bus journeys quicker and more convenient for those who work at the hospital or need to go there.”
The updated timetables will be available in Basingstoke from April 1, before the new service begins.