A petition – which has already received over 100 signatories – has been started with the aim to extend the Unilink U6 service to the Ocean Village complex once road works in the area are completed in 2015.
At present, no Unilink service operates in the Ocean Village area, with the only bus services being the Bluestar and First services that terminate in the city centre and serve no other area of the city. This leaves residents who wish to travel to the University to walk to the entrance of Dock Gate 4, around 15-20 minutes away, where they can get on the U1 service to the University.
However, changes to the road layout in that area could extend the distance further. At present, the road serving the Dock Gate 4 entrance will be substantially altered as part of Southampton City Council’s Platform for Prosperity project. The Project involves the construction of a dual carriageway along the stretch of the waterfront and removing the gyratory system around Queen’s Park. As part of this, another access point to the docks will be created near God’s House Tower to improve the traffic flow out of the Docks, allowing Dock Gate 4 to be altered to inward traffic only.
This change would have to force the closure of the current Unilink bus stop at Dock Gate 4 for University-bound traffic, resulting in Ocean Village residents having to extend their walk to around 25-30 minutes to reach the next stop, located opposite the Platform Tavern near God’s House Tower.
To cover this, the petition creator, Kate Steaggles, aims to get the U6 service to extend to Ocean Village itself. The U6 service runs between the city centre and Southampton General Hospital and also serves the NOC in the evenings. Prior to September 2013 the service used to run to the docks all day but it was scaled back due to an apparent lack of users. The petitioners also believe that the extension of the service would not only open up their options but also allow more students to use the leisure facilities located there, which include the Harbour Lights picture house and a Cineworld multiplex cinema.
The petition has been well publicised at the University interchange in the hope that the petition reaches another 100 people to gain it’s target.