Return of scrapped bus service for Western Wards

A scrapped free bus service that took people from Warsash and Locks Heath to the Hedge End superstores has been revived.

The twice-weekly service has returned to also continue taking shoppers from Fareham and Titchfield to the Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s stores in Hedge End after it was scrapped in March.

This scrapped free bus, run by Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer, has been revived under Xelabus company

This scrapped free bus, run by Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer, has been revived under Xelabus company

Passengers were shocked when the service, which had been operating for 16 years, stopped because it was understood to cost the retailers £50,000 per year and they said it was no longer viable.

The stores advised shoppers that they could get to the shopping centres on a bus service from Park Gate.

But non-driving shoppers who live in Warsash did not have a connection service to get them to Hedge End and launched a petition against the scrapping of the free service.

After six months off the road, the service has now returned and is run by Eastleigh-based company Xelabus.

Philip Blair, Managing Director of Xelabus said: “We are running these routes without support and they will be monitored up to Christmas to gauge demand. The original free services were very popular and although our three services are fare paying, any person holding a concessionary travel pass for senior citizens may travel free on each route.”

Xelabus has introduced three new services to Hedge End Retail Park. The X31, X32 and X33 run from east Southampton, Hedge End village, Titchfield, Warsash, Park Gate, Botley, Weston, Sholing and Thornhill to and from the shopping centre in one round trip – meaning residents have up to 75 minutes shopping time.

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