Tangmere, Halnaker to St Richard’s bus link saved

A bus company has stepped in to cover a route which had been controversially scrapped earlier this year.

It was announced at the end of July that Stagecoach had cut the number 55 Sunday bus service which was subsidised by West Sussex County Council.

The service ran through Tangmere, Halnaker and to St Richard’s Hospital on Sundays and public holidays.

Independent company, Compass Travel from Worthing will provide a new service, numbered 55A, running every 90 minutes between 9.30am and 6pm.

It will follow the old route, but will continue on to the city centre and to Westgate Leisure Centre, and Tesco at Fishbourne.

Three journeys per day will run on to Bosham and Old Bosham, giving Old Bosham a Sunday bus link for the first time for many years.

Managing director Chris Chatfield said: “We operate a number of bus routes in the Chichester area and when we learned of the axing of the service we were concerned about the difficulties that would be experienced by passengers, especially hospital visitors and staff on Sundays and public holidays.

“We shall be operating the service without a subsidy and we shall do our very best to ensure it covers its costs so we can run it on a permanent basis.

“We hope the new links to the Tesco Store and Old Bosham will increase patronage and unlike at present where the bus station is served in one direction only, the bus will run via the bus station in both directions to connect with trains for passengers travelling from/to further afield.”

The consultation into the second wave of bus cuts announced by West Sussex County Council has started.

The council disclosed earlier this year it would reduce the level of subsidies on non-commercial bus routes.

Some of the services under review include the Stagecoach 47 and 47A between Chichester and East Broyle, and the 56 from Old Bosham through Chichester to Arundel Park. The Emsworth and District 11 service is also being looked at.

The closing date for feedback is January 17.