Thanks to Jon Young for this update on the bus service to Niton Undercliff and St Lawrence. Ed
Niton Undercliff and St Lawrence are to lose their bus service for six months while Island Roads stabilises two stretches of Undercliff Drive.
The news was given at the last minute this weekend, even though the major works, which begin on Monday (4/11) and are likely to go on until the end of April, have been scheduled for months.
Buses via Whitwell
Undercliff Drive will be closed between its junctions with Seven Sisters Road, St Lawrence, and St Catherine’s Road, Niton. Until the work is finished all No. 6 buses between Ventnor and Niton will go via Whitwell, rather than alternating with the Undercliff route, as at present.
Southern Vectis has ignored a request made weeks ago by Niton and Whitwell Parish Council to divert some buses from Niton via the Buddle Inn and back into the village – a route which some buses used until about 2006.
Alternative route “deemed unsuitable”
When I called the SV’s public phone number this week and asked why this could not be done, I was told the route had been “deemed unsuitable” – but the member of staff could not say by whom, or why. The same applied, she said, to the idea of turning buses from Ventnor around in St Lawrence, in order to give the village some sort of service.
SV has been puzzlingly slow in keeping the public informed about the suspension of the well-used service, with nothing appearing on the “service updates” section of its Website as of Friday.
Updates appeared on the SV Twitter account only on Friday (1/11), including arrangements for school bus pick-ups – some of them earlier than at present.
OnTheWight has been told of discussions with another, unidentified, bus operator, with a view to providing a service to the affected areas. These appear to have come to nothing, and Minibus Plus, which operates the No. 31 service around Ventnor has not been approached.
SV’s social media update reads:
All route 6 buses will operate through Whitwell.
Route 330 (AM) will be revised as follows:
Southford Farm 0750 (10 mins earlier)
Whitwell Chapel 0755 (10 mins earlier)
then via diversion to serve
Seven Sisters Road 0805
Ventnor Boots 0815
then as normal timings through to schools
Route 330 (PM) will operate to include the diversion via Seven Sisters Road.
Route 316 will start AM and finish PM at Seven Sisters Road, St Lawrence.
Route 405 will start AM at Castlehaven Lane, Niton and finish PM at Buddle Inn.
Medina College students from stops within the closed section will need to join the 316 at Seven Sisters Road. (there are no Medina College students living at the Niton end).
Christ the King College students from stops within the closed section will need to join either the 405 at Castlehaven Lane or the 330 at Seven Sisters Road.
Update: Following publication of this article on Friday, Matt Kitchin from Southern Vectis got in touch with the following clarifications on Monday morning.
Using a loop to Niton and the Buddle Inn is not feasible, a previous bus route was withdrawn from this loop some years ago partly due to the damage caused by a considerable number of low hanging trees along Sandrock Road.
We have previously operated a bus service to St Lawrence along Woolverton Road and Old Park Road but this was withdrawn some years ago following objections from local residents.
When a section of road is closed we would discuss the matter with Island Roads who would fund a shuttle bus for passengers who live on the affected section of route. On this occasion we were lead to believe that alternative arrangements had been made with another operator.
As to why information was not published earlier, we would normally aim to publish information on road closures and diversions in the week prior to the closure taking effect. On this occasion we were awaiting clarification of planned road works in Niton and Whitwell which were unconnected with the Undercliff works but would have additionally impacted on our route 6 bus service.
Update 5.Nov.13: Added clarification that they phone contact was with public SV phone line, not press contact.
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