Winchester residents have spoken about their concern on proposed changes to bus passes and concessionary travel.

Hampshire County Council is holding a consultation on the plans, which could see people forced to pay fees, operational changes and cuts to back-office functions.

The authority said the proposals are being made in the light of 'continued significant pressures on local authority budgets'.

For many people, bus services provide a vital link between the city centre and surrounding areas. Winchester residents spoke of their frustration of the news.

Caroline McLaughlin, 70, said: “I’m very upset, these bus passes are a lifeline for a lot of people. I go all sorts of places with it.”

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Judith Stubbs, 83, said: “I’ll be devastated, it’s one of the few pleasures I get. People like myself come here just for a break and won’t be able to soon. If people start using their cars again that’s a lot more pollution.”

Peter Whitewood, 74, said: “Not so much people in the town but those living a bit outside will really struggle to get their shopping.”

Councillor Edward Heron, executive lead member for transport, said: “I’d like to reassure service users especially, that no decisions have been made.

"We will endeavour to minimise the impact on passengers from any changes that may be agreed at a later date however, it is essential that we find ways to do things differently and with reduced costs."

The council said it would continue to meet its statutory duties and to work in partnership with bus operators to secure a network of bus services for residents across Hampshire within the resources available.

However people are being urged to take part in a survey, before it's too late.

A spokeswoman said: "Please can we bring to your attention, again, this ongoing consultation to remind people that there is still time for them to have their say on the proposed chances, if they haven’t done so already and would like to.

"The consultation closes at midnight on Sunday, July 24."

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