Bus service cuts

By David Newble

Friday, July 10, 2009


SOUTHERN Vectis is set to axe its route 22 service connecting Sandown to Shanklin as part of its new timetable, starting August 30.

Other changes include reducing the frequency of the route 5 service between East Cowes to Newport, from every 12 to every 15 minutes, and the route 4 service between East Cowes and Ryde, which will remain every half-hour at peak commuter times but hourly during the rest of the day.

A small number of journeys on route 6, which runs between Ventnor and Newport via Chale, will also be withdrawn.

Routes 14 (Bembridge to Ryde) and 16 (Seaview to Ryde) are being combined to provide a half-hourly Ryde to St Helens and Bembridge service, hourly via Seaview and Nettlestone, and hourly via Tesco.

This change will provide a new link between Seaview, Nettlestone and St Helens.

Southern Vectis operations and commercial manager Marc Morgan Huws said: "The new timetable reflects the significant effect the reduction in payment for free travel is having on bus services on the Island. Nevertheless, we have sought to minimise the necessary cuts and will be absorbing a significant funding reduction ourselves.

"It is unfortunate that, despite maintaining our passenger numbers, we have again been forced to make significant cost reductions as a result of this worthy but poorly-funded scheme."

The Isle of Wight Council Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods, Stuart Love, said: "Southern Vectis and the Isle of Wight Council have agreed that the way the government distributes money to support the concessionary bus fare scheme is flawed. Which routes Southern Vectis chooses to operate is a commercial decision for the company."

Reporter: davidn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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