Anger as Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer axe free bus to Hedge End retail park

End of road for free bus

End of road for free bus

End of road for free bus

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

They have lost the bus service they describe as “a lifeline”.

Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer have axed a free service that brought shoppers to Hedge End Retail Park from Southampton.

Passengers fear it will keep many elderly people away from the huge shopping centre and has seen the end of a social network.

However, the retail giants said they were cutting the route as the number of people using it had declined in the past three years.

The service, which ended last week, was operated by First bus company, on behalf of Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s.

It was used mainly by older people, some of whom say it was their only opportunity to do their weekly shopping in one go.

Bus users can still get to the store using services such as First’s 8A from Southampton city centre but many would have to change at least once and said they would now shop elsewhere.

Margaret Buswell, 59, who lives in Thornhill, Southampton, and has been using the service for at least ten years, said she faces a much longer journey with at least one change.

“I just don’t know how some people are going to manage,” she said.

“I think it’s madness on their part – it’s pennies talking here, it’s money – they’re obviously trying to cut back somewhere, but I think they have made a big mistake.

“I think this is again another service that the elderly are going to be missing out on that’s vital to them. It’s a lifeline.”

Grandmother Pearl Dunford, 82, also from Thornhill, said: “I have made a lot of friends on it over the years as well as being able to travel nearly from door to door with my shopping.

“It will be really hard now to get four buses there and back. I know we can’t expect these things to go on forever but it does seem a real shame it is ending.”

The stores said they had made a joint decision and had developed a leaflet for customers to identify which bus routes they can use to get to the store to help with the transition.

Steve James, store manager for M&S Hedge End, said it had been a difficult decision but the service was under-used. “We’d like to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience,” he added. “We understand that there are frequent buses on existing routes which provide regular access to the store.

“Before we made the decision we looked into existing bus routes and villages to ensure there were alternative routes for our customers.”

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “We didn’t make this decision lightly but the service was not utilised nearly enough to keep it running and other public bus services operate in the areas this bus covered.”

Comments (12)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:43pm Tue 2 Apr 13

Northamboy says...

It's a shame it's been cut but it's gone the same way as many bus routes have over the past 30 years since denationalisation. I know this particular service has been paid for by the shops concerned but it's still a case of use it or lose it the same as ordinary bus routes.

Perhaps once Marks and Spencer and Sainsburys realise how much they will lose they will reinstate it but it's doubtful.
It's a shame it's been cut but it's gone the same way as many bus routes have over the past 30 years since denationalisation. I know this particular service has been paid for by the shops concerned but it's still a case of use it or lose it the same as ordinary bus routes. Perhaps once Marks and Spencer and Sainsburys realise how much they will lose they will reinstate it but it's doubtful. Northamboy
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Tue 2 Apr 13

ohec says...

Its a shame they are loosing the service but to be fair the revenue created for the stores by mainly O.A.Ps is probably very small and not enough to make the bus viable.
Its a shame they are loosing the service but to be fair the revenue created for the stores by mainly O.A.Ps is probably very small and not enough to make the bus viable. ohec
  • Score: 0

3:49pm Tue 2 Apr 13

TheVoiceOfReason87 says...

I'm pretty sure the "Grey Pound" is not bringing in anywhere near enough for them to warrant continuing the service. As the article states there is more than one bus route so it sounds like a panic over nothing. As usual.
I'm pretty sure the "Grey Pound" is not bringing in anywhere near enough for them to warrant continuing the service. As the article states there is more than one bus route so it sounds like a panic over nothing. As usual. TheVoiceOfReason87
  • Score: 0

4:24pm Tue 2 Apr 13

davel_cats says...

Sorry to see this service go, but pensioners get free bus passes anyway, so apart from the inconvenience of having to change busses, they aren't really any worse off. The article states they have made friends on the bus - why don't they club together and share a taxi? Yes, they'd have to pay, but they'd have a door-to-door service.
Sorry to see this service go, but pensioners get free bus passes anyway, so apart from the inconvenience of having to change busses, they aren't really any worse off. The article states they have made friends on the bus - why don't they club together and share a taxi? Yes, they'd have to pay, but they'd have a door-to-door service. davel_cats
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Tue 2 Apr 13

waldo0782 says...

Think about it.. they wouldn't axe a service that brought shoppers to their front door if it wasn't losing them money.
Think about it.. they wouldn't axe a service that brought shoppers to their front door if it wasn't losing them money. waldo0782
  • Score: 0

5:43pm Tue 2 Apr 13

Stillness says...

So is this when M&S and Tesco announce that they are going to reinstate the service out of a sense of community spirit? Well I guess they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't lol.
So is this when M&S and Tesco announce that they are going to reinstate the service out of a sense of community spirit? Well I guess they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't lol. Stillness
  • Score: 0

6:07pm Tue 2 Apr 13

For pity sake says...

Stillness wrote:
So is this when M&S and Tesco announce that they are going to reinstate the service out of a sense of community spirit? Well I guess they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't lol.
Why exactly would Tesco want to subsidise travel to a Sainsburys supermarket?
[quote][p][bold]Stillness[/bold] wrote: So is this when M&S and Tesco announce that they are going to reinstate the service out of a sense of community spirit? Well I guess they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't lol.[/p][/quote]Why exactly would Tesco want to subsidise travel to a Sainsburys supermarket? For pity sake
  • Score: 0

6:38pm Tue 2 Apr 13

Stillness says...

For pity sake wrote:
Stillness wrote:
So is this when M&S and Tesco announce that they are going to reinstate the service out of a sense of community spirit? Well I guess they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't lol.
Why exactly would Tesco want to subsidise travel to a Sainsburys supermarket?
I was just horsing around????
[quote][p][bold]For pity sake[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Stillness[/bold] wrote: So is this when M&S and Tesco announce that they are going to reinstate the service out of a sense of community spirit? Well I guess they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't lol.[/p][/quote]Why exactly would Tesco want to subsidise travel to a Sainsburys supermarket?[/p][/quote]I was just horsing around???? Stillness
  • Score: 0

7:20pm Tue 2 Apr 13

Huffter says...

Northamboy wrote:
It's a shame it's been cut but it's gone the same way as many bus routes have over the past 30 years since denationalisation. I know this particular service has been paid for by the shops concerned but it's still a case of use it or lose it the same as ordinary bus routes. Perhaps once Marks and Spencer and Sainsburys realise how much they will lose they will reinstate it but it's doubtful.
Perhaps M&S and Sainsburys have realised that those of us who pay bus fares to go shopping are a bit fed up with paying extra to subsidise those who have free passes for other services.
[quote][p][bold]Northamboy[/bold] wrote: It's a shame it's been cut but it's gone the same way as many bus routes have over the past 30 years since denationalisation. I know this particular service has been paid for by the shops concerned but it's still a case of use it or lose it the same as ordinary bus routes. Perhaps once Marks and Spencer and Sainsburys realise how much they will lose they will reinstate it but it's doubtful.[/p][/quote]Perhaps M&S and Sainsburys have realised that those of us who pay bus fares to go shopping are a bit fed up with paying extra to subsidise those who have free passes for other services. Huffter
  • Score: 0

7:49pm Tue 2 Apr 13

Fatty x Ford Worker says...

Be a real Tory and get on your Pogo Stick!
Be a real Tory and get on your Pogo Stick! Fatty x Ford Worker
  • Score: 0

7:55pm Tue 2 Apr 13

Rob444 says...

I wasn't aware of this bus service. Has it been advertised anywhere in Southampton?
I wasn't aware of this bus service. Has it been advertised anywhere in Southampton? Rob444
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Tue 2 Apr 13

Reality-man says...

davel_cats wrote:
Sorry to see this service go, but pensioners get free bus passes anyway, so apart from the inconvenience of having to change busses, they aren't really any worse off. The article states they have made friends on the bus - why don't they club together and share a taxi? Yes, they'd have to pay, but they'd have a door-to-door service.
If they now have to get double the number of (free) buses, then surely they will have double the chance to make new friends? That's a win win in my book!
[quote][p][bold]davel_cats[/bold] wrote: Sorry to see this service go, but pensioners get free bus passes anyway, so apart from the inconvenience of having to change busses, they aren't really any worse off. The article states they have made friends on the bus - why don't they club together and share a taxi? Yes, they'd have to pay, but they'd have a door-to-door service.[/p][/quote]If they now have to get double the number of (free) buses, then surely they will have double the chance to make new friends? That's a win win in my book! Reality-man
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree