SCORES of passengers spent time queuing for a bus - to tell operators just what they thought of their services.

Customers flocked to board a bus outside Southampton's Bargate where managers from First Southampton and Solent Blue Line were on hand to listen to their views.

The pioneering bus surgery, organised by the Portsmouth-based pressure group the National Federation of Bus Users (NFBU), was the first of its kind in Southampton.

NFBU chairman Caroline Cahm arranged the event after hearing about unreliable buses and axed services in the city, highlighted by the Daily Echo's Bus Watch campaign.

She said: "The idea is to give passengers an opportunity to talk face-to-face with senior management about any problems or suggestions they have. We have had lots of people here and it's been very good-humoured and very constructive.

"In a couple of months we will invite them to a follow-up meeting so we can take the discussions further."

Peter Shelley, operations director for Solent Blue Line, said: "All the bus companies have been through a difficult period, particularly due to traffic congestion.

"We really welcome the opportunity for passengers to come and see us face-to-face and give us their ideas for improvement. We have been delighted with the turnout and everybody has been very amicable."

Richard Soper, managing director of First Southampton, said: "It's been several weeks now since our service changes and we are keeping the pattern constantly under review. Today we want to get as much feedback as possible from customers about what their experiences of the services are."

Councillor Richard Williams, the city council's executive member for transport, added: "One of the big problems from last summer was the complete lack of communication from the bus companies. I'm very encouraged because I think this event shows they have realised they have got to be a part of the community, since they provide such an important support link."