Pensioner hailed a hero after bus firm responds to campaign

PENSIONER Harry Payne has been hailed a hero by fellow senior citizens after persuading Transdev Yellow Buses (TYB) to reinstate a popular stop-off point in Bournemouth.

TYB has agreed that the ‘24’ service linking Alum Chine and Bournemouth’s West Cliff with the town centre and Castlepoint shopping complex should have a stop-off point in The Triangle.

The decision, which took effect from Sunday November 23, follows a 14-month campaign by Mr Payne who pointed out that the stop would prove highly popular with many elderly residents.

Bournemouth Borough Council has also agreed to subsidise low floor buses on the evening and Sunday tendered services to match vehicles running on the commercial ‘24’ daytime route.

Commenting on the return of the ‘24’ to The Triangle, Mr Payne, said: “I’m over the moon. It is the best possible news.”

Fellow pensioner Mary Hillier, 85, described Harry as the ‘People’s Champion’ while Phyllis Moss, 89, added: “He does a good job and everyone is very pleased. This will make a huge difference to people and we’re all very grateful to Harry.”

Mr Payne, 88, writes to TYB at least once a week using one of six typewriters.

Such is his loyalty that the company named him ‘Mr Transdev Yellow Buses’ in 2006 and, this October, unveiled his larger-than-life image on the side of one of its new Versa fleet.

Jenni Wilkinson, TYB’s Head of Marketing, said: “We are always happy to respond to feedback from passengers provided there is a clear commercial case which, I’m pleased to say, is the situation with both the ‘24’ and ‘4a’.

“Harry acts as a real champion for the area’s senior citizens, who use our services. He’s also a great character who is held in genuine affection.”

* TYB, in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council, is also extending the route of the 4a service in Bearwood, to include Knights Road, Knighton Heath Road and Shapland Avenue, as a result of passenger feedback.

Picture caption:
Big difference: Harry Payne (second left) with Sally Spicer (second right) and Adrian Glover of Transdev Yellow Buses and fellow passengers Mary Hillier (left) and Phyllis Moss (right).