WORKERS at Southampton General Hospital are set to have a bigger say on bus services to and from the hospital.

That is one of the recommendations made in a city council report and backed by trade union Unison.

Members of the city council’s health overview and scrutiny panel compiled the report on transport provision to the hospital earlier this year after concerns were raised that bus service changes would leave some people without the ability to get to and from the hospital.

Scrutiny panel members also heard criticisms of electronic information on bus services, some of which was described as being so inaccurate it was “pointless”.

And it is now hoped the recommendations of the report will be approved and implemented later this year.

Among the report’s recommendations are the creation of a passenger group who would be consulted on future transport changes, increasing the amount of electronic information on services and keeping it regularly updated, and introducing crosscompany ticketing.

The panel also recommended that bus stops be better signposted and ensuring timetables are always available.

The recommendations could be given final approval by the city council’s Cabinet next month.

And despite the council cutting its bus subsidies as it makes widespread cutbacks, operator Bluestar has pledged to keep its U6 evening services to the hospital.

First Bus is now expected to announce that it will retain its No. 3 evening service, also serving the hospital.

Unison, which represents many staff at the hospital, also compiled a report after surveying staff. The union’s area organiser, James Smith, said: “The content of the council report and the early public announcement of Bluestar to keep route U6 evening services, despite a cut in subsidy, has been encouraging and demonstrated that they have been listening with interest to the concerns raised in Unison’s campaign.

“The expected protection of evening services on the First Bus No.3 service will be welcome news to passengers who use this core service from the city to the hospital.

He added: “It’s not over yet, as we expect there to be changes to other bus services, and we will respond to those when we know more about the impact.

“We also need to ensure that council recommendations are acted on. We feel that our campaign has already highlighted that a dialogue with passengers, the people who really know what they need from a bus service, has to be at the centre of future decisions on bus provision.”

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