Press Queries Results of Several Tenders (1)
“The News” reporter, one Freddie Webb …
… penned a purple passage of prose back at the tail end of July, of which the above was the headline.
fbb was alerted to the coming happenings by one if the many Alans who contribute news to the this blog. This Alan knows all about Portsmouth bus travel which Freddie patently doesn’t.
And fbb can confirm that there are no new bus services starting in Portsmouth in the near future.
But first, for blog newcomers, a bit of background.
Portsmouth is built on an Island, Portsea Island no less.
These days there are quite a few bridges across the tidal channel that separates the island from the UK mainland. Reading from west to east the first is the newest, being the M275 bridge which takes traffic to/from the M27.
Then comes what was once the only bridge link, at London Road Hilsea.
The old road and bridge, to the right of the newer mega roundabout, is now a car park!
Here is that bridge soon after construction, looking south from Cosham towards Hilsea.
Before that, it was a narrow iron bridge ..,.
… and, so important was Portsmouth’s naval purpose that the only toad access to the Island was via these easily defended arches …
… part of the military defences called “The Hilsea Lines”.
Also recent, and a little further east, is a footbridge …
… which takes pedestrians and cyclists from the hinterland of Hilsea over the water (but not much of it) and over the A27/M27 and down a jolly spiral to Highbury on the mainland.
Next comes the railway bridge with another footpath beside it.
This goes under the A27 to another bit of Highbury. It’s a bit spooky.
The final bridge is on Eastern Road.
Back in the day (1930s?) only the London Road and the Railway linked the mainland with Portsea Island.
So it was that Portsmouth Corporation ran public transport on the Island and Southdown looked after country routes to the north and east. Hampshire Bus came in from the west.
But Portsmouth City began building housing estates on the mainland and, understandably, the corporation wanted to serve its people with its own buses.
To cut a long story short, a deal was eventually struck that aimed to satisfy all concerned. The Corporation would serve Paulsgrove and communities along the A3 London Road (Waterlooville etc.) whilst Southdown would cover the new Portsmouth-built housing (Leigh Park) north of Havant.
Portsmouth Area Joint Transport Services
Even after privatisation in 1986 stability eventually returned to something similar.
OK, a gross simplification, but one which looked as if it were settled for ever. It was much much more complicated than that, especially before the “Joint Area” was agreed. But fbb keeps it simple because he is a simple soul at heart!
Until now, that is!
But, Freddie Webb please note, several tendered bus services in the First Bus (former Corporation) area have been awarded to Stagecoach – SHOCK HORROR! The not new services start on September 3rd.
First Bus have been Trounced at Tipner
(service 12) …
… Beaten at Baffins
(services 13 and 14) …
… which served Portsmouth College.
… Pushed Out At Paulsgrove
… and Expunged from Eastney
This takes Stagecoach deep into services on Portsea Island and deep into First Bus “territory”. Just think of it – the equivalent of Southdown buses running Portsmouth Corporation routes – unthinkable!
Tomorrow, fbb will look at these services in more detail but he can assure young Freddie that there is nothing particularly new, nothing much has changed. Apart from different livery and some fares complications, Portsmouth people will probably not notice much at all.
But First Bus managment will doubtless be a bit narked.
More Portsmouth Changes mini-blog : Tuesday 8th Auguat