Bus services in East Hants are let by Hampshire County Council. I do feel some frustration that these are let by a team in Winchester looking for county wide solutions and with the increased development going on across East Hants and the South of England it is important that new services are considered and brought in if they are viable.
At a cabinet meeting on the 25th March we voted to support funding for a study to be undertaken to look at how this can be achieved. The idea is to find routes that can be operated on a commercial basis, including ones serving new housing developments. One of the ideas is to run small high quality 16 seat minibuses with features like free WiFi to add to their appeal.
EHDC will be consulting with local Councillors and communities to ensure we understand where people want to get to and from. Current bus services do not cater for Morrisons, the service through Catherington was dropped several years ago and if the LEOH development is approved then future services will need to consider these new markets too. There is also frequent comment that there is no easy way to get to the leisure facilities in Waterlooville, Havant or Petersfield by public transport. If viable then these are all possible solutions.
A report to Cabinet said the survey would look at services that connect to ‘key destinations where people want and need to access facilities.’ It added: ‘Key corridors would need to be identified where there is commercial potential, either existing, or new corridors which could be a result of new development sites. These services should be of high quality. Different types of services would be welcome for investigation, such as commuter services or services that serve the night time economy.
Cllr Nick Drew, Portfolio holder for Communities, said: ‘Bus services are a vital lifeline for some people and this study will take a close look at how and where they are run. We want to encourage more people to leave the car at home and take the bus. It also makes sense to provide bus services on our new housing estates.’
Keep watching here to find out more and expect this to be a topic for a Community Forum in the near future.