A BUS company's decision to axe a route used mostly by pensioners has been criticised by passengers.

First Bus plans to end its number 9 service at the end of October due to a lack of passengers.

The service, which was reduced last year, is the only direct route from Sholing to Bitterne and the city centre.

If axed, passengers planning journeys from Sholing to Bitterne will be forced to travel into Woolston. 

The city council is considering funding the route but no decision has been made yet.

READ MORE: Southampton £5 bus travel scheme extended for another month

Daily Echo: Nickolas DoultonNickolas Doulton (Image: Hannah De Boltz, Newsquest)

Nickolas Doulton has hit out at the company for planning to remove the route.

The 72-year-old said: "I take this bus three times a week to do my shopping and to get out of the house. I live in Sholing and go to Bitterne. 

"It hasn't been a regular bus for many years. It's annoying now having to go further away.

"I can't walk the distance because I have sight issues and my legs are not what they were. There are just too many hills and I won't be able to get to the Range either."

Silvia Reardon, 82, from Sholing said the route is her "only way" to get to the Range. 

She said: "If I wanted to get to the Range, I can't. The hills on either side are too big and I can't walk up them. 

"I use this bus all the time and it is just a pain that it is ending.

"We all saw it coming when First Bus limited the number of busses last year but it's just sad to see it go."

Daily Echo: George McGurk George McGurk (Image: Hannah De Boltz, Newsquest)

Pensioners in the UK can apply for a bus pass for free travel after turning 60.

George McGurk, 86, who takes the bus daily said: "I am sick and tired of this bus. 

"First Bus will cancel journeys without telling anyone and they say it's because they don't make enough money from this route.

"It's because pensioners mostly use it but the company does get funding from providing the free journeys."

A First Bus spokesperson said: "The number of passengers it carries is low and unlikely to recover so the revenue from the service is also low.

"This means that the service, unfortunately, doesn’t cover its costs and, very sadly, we would be unable to run it after the end of October.

"However, as far as we are aware, Southampton City Council is still considering whether to fund the 9 service to keep it running and we await their final decision." 

Southampton City Council has confirmed it is considering funding the route. 

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