Bus campaigners urge residents to fight cuts

Campaigners fighting to save bus routes from the axe are urging passengers to fill in the vital survey forms before it’s too late.

It’s the third consultation by West Sussex County Council into bus usage, and will determine which routes have their subsidies from the council cut.

The services under threat in the Observer area include the Stagecoach 47 and 47A between Chichester and East Broyle, the 56 from Old Bosham through Chichester to Arundel Park, and the number 11 Emsworth and District Service.

The deadline for filling in the consultation is January 17.

West Sussex county councillor Mark Dunn represents the Bourne area whose residents, in Stoughton, Compton, Westbourne, Chidham and Southbourne would be affected by the withdrawal of the number 11 service.

He said: “These communities have always since time out of mind had local bus services.

“The local population is mostly elderly, but a significant number of young people, who are pre-driving age, depend on a lot of their social life and their jobs.”

Director at the Emsworth and District Bus Company, Caren Austin-Lea, said if they lost the number 11 service they may have to make cutbacks.

She said: “We are a little family business that serves the back of the villages, whereas the other company Stagecoach travel along the main road.

“That’s great but if you live further north, it’s a long way and a lot of the elderly people use it. It’s a long way for them to walk with their shopping.”

The company has already lost a whole route to the cuts in Hampshire, and had another scaled back.

The surveys are available to fill in online on the council’s website, www.westsussex.gov.uk/buses, or if you would like paper copies phone 01243 642105 or email buses@westsussex.gov.uk.

The decision is expected to be made in April.