Roadworks leave Colden Common villagers stranded

Hampshire Chronicle: Operators suspended services running along Main Road in Colden Common. Operators suspended services running along Main Road in Colden Common.

RESIDENTS have been left stranded after bus services were suspended after roadworks closed a major Hampshire road.

Operators suspended services running along Main Road in Colden Common after water works shut the route near Fisher’s Pond for up to ten weeks.

The move means many people, including the elderly and parents with young children, will be forced to walk over half a mile to catch a two-hourly service at New Road.

Some claim that the county council has been unwilling to assist bus operators to put on an emergency service in time for the start of the road closures which began on Monday (January 6).

Parish chairman and Winchester City ward councillor, Cllr Richard Izard, said: “It’s not very good at all to leave it to the last minute to sort this out. We’ve got elderly people who won’t have any access to a bus service into Winchester. We’ve been trying to get a community bus together but it’s really quite late in the day.

“I thought we were in the process of negotiating but everyone has gone quiet and the decision seems to have been made.”

Jackie Shaw, 73, a retiree also of Glen Mobile Home Park, said: “We are all isolated and people like Alma can’t walk very far. How the hell are we going to do our shopping? Ok, so we have a Co-op or we could do our shopping online but that’s not the point. The county council and the water board have known about this since September but we’re still all going to be without a bus.

“Why is this happening? It’s going to affect so many people and for them to say we cannot subsidise the service is just not on.

“I can’t understand that they didn’t work on that site before Christmas. Why couldn’t they have started work a little bit earlier to make the length of time a little shorter?”

Alma Suckling, 85, a retiree also of Glen Park, said: “I need to go to the doctor once a week, sometimes more, and I have lunch at the Community Centre.”

“I use the bus to get to Eastleigh to go shopping about once a week. But now I’m isolated.”

Stagecoach and Brijan have redirected their services via Highbridge Road. The two-hourly service run by Bluestar will still operate from New Road. However Stagecoach confirmed the school buses PS8 and PS9 will be available to the public.

Stagecoach marketing officer, Steve Thorpe, said: “Unfortunately we are unable to run via Allbrook Hill due to the low bridge under the rail line as double deckers are used on the majority of 69 journeys.”

But the council claims it has tried to work with both the water board and the bus operators to overcome the problems.

Cllr Seán Woodward said: “It is for the bus companies to determine what services to run during a road closure and they will take into account the commercial viability of providing that service.

Hampshire County Council facilitated two meetings between Southern Water and the bus companies Brijan and Stagecoach at which the costs of providing shuttle bus services to mitigate the diversions caused by the road closure were identified and discussed, together with the impact on school contract buses.

“Unfortunately Southern Water and the bus companies have subsequently been unable to reach agreement on the funding of these shuttle services.”

Comments (2)

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7:47pm Tue 7 Jan 14

IWCHRIS says...

The St Cross area of Winchester is also not going to be served by the Stagecoach route 69 during the Fishers Pond.

When I asked why I got this response:

"Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding your concerns over the temporary diversion route which our service 69 is following during the road closure at Colden Common.

The decision to divert this service away from St Cross during this six week period has been made so as that the punctuality of the overall journey is maintained. Bearing in mind that the diversion route takes the service through Eastleigh (which inevitably adds time to the service due to the frequent congestion in the area) it has been decided that, in order to not add any additional time to the overall journey, the extra time needed at Eastleigh time can be saved by operating from Winchester directly on to the M3. In doing so this means that the overall trip time remains the same and there is therefore minimal disruption to the majority of passengers who use the service, although I do completely understand and appreciate the inconvenience which is currently being caused to you as a result of the closure at Colden Common.

In order for us to operate the service via St Cross during the duration of the closure this would then mean that in order to maintain the current timetable we would have to add further resources (another vehicle) to the route, unfortunately, as we are not receiving any form of compensation or funding from Southern Water or the County Council during these works, this is an option which is not commercially viable. This, in addition to the fact that, based on ticketing data, the majority of our passengers from the St Cross area usually commute as far as Twyford and Colden Common - which are currently receiving a reduced level of service at this time, further strengthened the argument to support the decision not to operate via St Cross during the closure period. In the mean time I ask that you accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience which is currently being caused to you along with my assurances that I have also communicated your concerns to our commercial team.

Once again I thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding this matter so as that it could be addressed. Stagecoach in Hampshire is totally committed to providing a quality, reliable bus service and I am fully conscious of our responsibilities in this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Martin Gibbon
Operations Manager
Stagecoach in Hampshire"

So not only do they don't care about people in Twyford or Colden Common they do not even appreciate customers in St Cross.

It is a disgrace that the companies involved are too interested in putting profit before people and the services they are supposed to provide.
The St Cross area of Winchester is also not going to be served by the Stagecoach route 69 during the Fishers Pond. When I asked why I got this response: "Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding your concerns over the temporary diversion route which our service 69 is following during the road closure at Colden Common. The decision to divert this service away from St Cross during this six week period has been made so as that the punctuality of the overall journey is maintained. Bearing in mind that the diversion route takes the service through Eastleigh (which inevitably adds time to the service due to the frequent congestion in the area) it has been decided that, in order to not add any additional time to the overall journey, the extra time needed at Eastleigh time can be saved by operating from Winchester directly on to the M3. In doing so this means that the overall trip time remains the same and there is therefore minimal disruption to the majority of passengers who use the service, although I do completely understand and appreciate the inconvenience which is currently being caused to you as a result of the closure at Colden Common. In order for us to operate the service via St Cross during the duration of the closure this would then mean that in order to maintain the current timetable we would have to add further resources (another vehicle) to the route, unfortunately, as we are not receiving any form of compensation or funding from Southern Water or the County Council during these works, this is an option which is not commercially viable. This, in addition to the fact that, based on ticketing data, the majority of our passengers from the St Cross area usually commute as far as Twyford and Colden Common - which are currently receiving a reduced level of service at this time, further strengthened the argument to support the decision not to operate via St Cross during the closure period. In the mean time I ask that you accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience which is currently being caused to you along with my assurances that I have also communicated your concerns to our commercial team. Once again I thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding this matter so as that it could be addressed. Stagecoach in Hampshire is totally committed to providing a quality, reliable bus service and I am fully conscious of our responsibilities in this matter. Yours Sincerely, Martin Gibbon Operations Manager Stagecoach in Hampshire" So not only do they don't care about people in Twyford or Colden Common they do not even appreciate customers in St Cross. It is a disgrace that the companies involved are too interested in putting profit before people and the services they are supposed to provide. IWCHRIS

9:27am Mon 13 Jan 14

Dave Of The South says...

But there's an emergency timetable now on - read down to 69 http://www3.hants.go
v.uk/passengertransp
ort/public-transport
/pt-info/busnews-ham
pshire/jan14buschang
es.htm
But there's an emergency timetable now on - read down to 69 http://www3.hants.go v.uk/passengertransp ort/public-transport /pt-info/busnews-ham pshire/jan14buschang es.htm Dave Of The South

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