Villagers could benefit from better bus service

By Matthew McKew

Sunday, February 16, 2014

 

Villagers could benefit from better bus service

Matt Kitchin, of Southern Vectis.

TWO Isle of Wight villages may get a better bus service after a big response to a Southern Vectis survey.

Following the survey, the bus company is considering diverting the Number 7 service to serve residents in Newbridge and Calbourne, which since 2010 have had just one round trip a day.

Matt Kitchin, Southern Vectis general manager, said: "The survey drew many encouraging responses from residents in Newbridge and Calbourne, where Southern Vectis is considering diverting some journeys to serve these villages, following an approach from the parish council last year."

Kate Goldson, of the Sun Inn, Calbourne, and Debs Downer, general manager of the Orchards Holiday Park, have been campaigning for better bus links since 2010.

They negotiated with the bus company to allow them to distribute a paper version of the online survey in Calbourne and Newbridge, because of the elderly population.

Debs said: "Around 90 people completed the paper surveys.

"At the moment, there is just one bus a day that goes into Newport. It takes an hour-and-a-half. You then have an hour and a half until the bus back.

"One 91-year-old man from Newbridge, whose wife is in a home, has to walk a mile-and-a-half in all weathers, every day, to the bus stop so he can see his wife."

The survey not only looked at changes to the route but other improvements, such as real-time information, next stop announcements and free onboard wifi.

Southern Vectis said any changes to bus services in Newbridge and Calbourne would be provided commercially by the company on a 'use it or lose it’ basis to ensure the costs of operation were covered by passengers using the service.

Reporter: matthewm@iwcpmail.co.uk

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