THEY are back on the road again.
Hundreds of residents in Thornhill have been given a transport lifeline by the city council, months after being cut off from a key bus service.
As reported by the Daily Echo, First Hampshire moved the start of its number 13 route from Thornhill to Harefield, drawing criticism from residents, particularly elderly people who said they were cut off from the shops and doctor’s surgery.
The service is provided by Black Velvet and has been subsidised by the city council. A 28-seater, it will run six times a day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Residents have generally welcomed the service but some want it extended to cover the whole week.
Diane Edworthy, 49, who runs the Together Reducing Isolation Project for the elderly and disabled in Thornhill, said: “It’s better than having nothing and I would urge people to use it so we don’t lose it in the future.
“But the message I’m getting from my group is they do not want to have to organise their doctor’s appointments around when the bus runs. It will help people but it could be improved.”
Meanwhile Velvet chief executive Phil Stockley said he was delighted to be able to provide the people of Thornhill with public transport again.
He said: “We have a very good record of working with the city council to develop services. It will be a similar service to the S1 and S2 that run in Lordshill and the east side of the city with very reliable vehicles and friendly drivers.”
Mr Stockley added it was some good news for the company after several problems in April.
As reported by the Daily Echo, some of Velvet’s buses were blocked from leaving the company depot in Eastleigh over a financial dispute with its mechanics Brenhaul.
Then a bus travelling through Lordshill had its window smashed by vandals, although no one was on board at the time.
Mr Stockley said: “Unfortunately sometimes these things happen but out mission statement has always been about providing good quality, reliable services for local people and this is another chance to do that.”
The contract with the council is open ended but Mr Stockley urged locals to use the service or risk losing it again.
The new route starts at Tesco in Bursledon then stops at Warburton Road, Hinkler Road, Fairfax Court and Thornhill Park Road before returning to Tesco via Harefield and Bitterne.