Petition - Cessation of Bus Route X9

Response from Hampshire County Council, May 2017

Dear Mrs Oaks

Thank you for your petition, received 2 May 2017, and covering letter from Cllr Diane Lloyd regarding the cessation of the X9 bus route from Denmead and Queen Alexandra Hospital and beyond and the proposal to implement some form of replacement link, perhaps at a lower off-peak frequency.

It might be useful to set out the background regarding local bus services. Most local bus services, such as those between Waterlooville and Portsmouth, are provided commercially and are paid for by the fares collected. These routes are not under the control of the County Council.

Where services are not provided commercially but are deemed to be socially necessary, the local authority can invite tenders to provide such services.  As you might expect, the budget for this is finite and services must meet certain value for money criteria.  In the case of the former X9 service, the journeys between Waterlooville and Hambledon were funded by the local authority and continue to be so as the D1 and D2 at a cost of £116,417 per annum.

First bus concluded that the X9 between Waterlooville and Portsmouth, which had been operated commercially, was no longer sustainable, with many passengers preferring the Star 7 and 8 services which between them provide ten buses an hour. The County Council looked at the section of route along Elizabeth Road and concluded that this would not meet the value for money criteria for a replacement bus service, even at lower frequency or on an off-peak basis as bus services become uneconomic when smaller numbers of people wish to travel.

For those unable to walk to their nearest bus stop, Hampshire County Council works with Havant Borough Council to provide Call&Go, a bookable bus service that can take you where you need to go in the Havant area and which runs on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  Further details may be had by telephoning 023 9241 5562 between 8am and 10am, Monday to Friday.

With regard to access to Queen Alexandra Hospital, the NHS offers support for those who would have difficulty in getting to hospital or find the journeys unaffordable.  The support is of two types:

Patient Transport Service

This service is available to eligible, non-emergency patients:

  • attending hospital outpatient clinics
  • being admitted to or discharged from hospital wards
  • needing life-saving treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy or renal dialysis or DVT treatment.

Patients are considered eligible if:

  • Their medical condition is such that they require the skills and support of PTS staff during or after their journey and/or it would be detrimental to their condition or recovery to travel by other means.

or,

  • Their medical condition affects their mobility to such an extent that they would be unable to access healthcare and/or it would be detrimental to their condition or recovery to travel by other means.

Further details are available on the internet at the following address:

http://www.porthosp.nhs.uk/for-inpatients/patient-support-and-advice/patient-transport.htm or by telephoning: 0300 100 0024.

Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)

  • Patients who do not medically qualify for transport and are receiving means tested benefits may be entitled to financial help with transport costs under the HTCS.
  • Patients must be under the care of a consultant/surgeon or attending traditional hospital diagnostic/treatment

Further details are available on the internet at the following address:
http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcosts/Pages/Travelcosts.aspx

I am sorry that First bus decided to stop running the X9 between Waterlooville and Portsmouth due to lack of passengers. The option of retaining or replacing the X9 between Waterlooville and Cosham or Portsmouth was considered by the County Council but did not meet value for money criteria.

For those unable to walk to their local bus stop, community transport is provided and I am glad to be able to provide details of Call&Go as well as the assistance that the NHS provides for those attending hospital.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.