West Wight bus change attacked

By Martin Neville

Friday, September 11, 2009


COMMUTERS who rely on early morning bus services in the West Wight have been dealt a raw deal by timetable changes, it was claimed.

The West Wight was described as the poor relation at a meeting of Calbourne Parish Council on Monday, where councillors discussed the new Southern Vectis timetable and the effect on the ward of Calbourne and Newbridge village.

Cllr Tim Eldridge said he had heard of people losing their jobs and students unable to attend college on the mainland as a result of the changes.

Southern Vectis, however, said West Wight had the best level of service it has had for decades.

Cllr Eldridge said, excepting the 6.22am service from Newport (via Forest Road) arriving at Yarmouth at 6.50am then Freshwater at 6.58am, the next services to arrive in Yarmouth were now at 8.30am (via Forest Road again), 8.37am (via Brighstone) and the Calbourne service at 9.30am.

He said there were no services for the 7.55am ferry sailing to Lymington and only the Forest Road service met any ferries before 8.55am.

"Despite West Wight accounting for about 25 per cent of the Island population, we have a fraction of the services," he told the CP.

Cllr Eldridge, whose step-daughter starts at Brockenhurst College this month, also claimed: "I have seen some of these early-morning services, with significant passenger numbers. How can that not be viable while a bus from Cowes with six or eight passengers is?"

IW councillor Stuart Dyer said: " There are 26 services from Newport to Cowes before the first one comes out via Newbridge."

Marc Morgan Huws, Southern Vectis operations manager, said: "We run services to meet demand and therefore the level of business and income required to pay for them, not on any other basis.

"We generally meet the ferry that gets in at 55 minutes past the hour, though timings of ferries changes across the day. We are planning further change on December 20 when a review of routes 7 and 11 will be undertaken."

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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