Bus axe could leave Southbourne and Westbourne residents stranded

Southbourne residents and service users worried the number 11 bus will stop. C120893-1

Southbourne residents and service users worried the number 11 bus will stop. C120893-1

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Devastated residents are fearing for their independence after spending cuts have targeted a long-running bus service.

Residents are fearful they will be left stranded once the number 11 bus service, ran by Emsworth and District bus company, stops operating in September.

The number 11 service, which ran for around 18 years, four times a day, is regularly used by elderly residents.

The news comes after West Sussex County Council reached a decision on which bus subsidies are to be reduced during the final stage of a three-year county council programme to cut financial support for non-commercial routes by £2m.

“I have got nothing – the bus was my life line,” said Lyn Turton, 68, from Southbourne.

Residents will now have to travel to Emsworth or Havant and transfer to catch the number 700 bus if they want to go into Chichester.

Disappointing

“I am very annoyed and frustrated for the business and for the customers,” said Caren Lea, director of Emsworth and District bus company.

“We have always had a good working relationship with West Sussex County Council for 35 years and I just think it’s very disappointing.”

The number 11 currently runs from Thorney Island to Emsworth Square and through to Westbourne, Southbourne, along the main road to Bosham, Nutbourne, Chidham and into Fishbourne, until it reaches Chichester.

Malcolm Meads, 70, from Westbourne, has to attend St Richard’s Hospital every three weeks to undergo regular blood and iron transfusions for anaemia.

Mr Meads uses the number 11 bus when he is unable to get a lift from his daughter-in-law.

“It is scandalous and I don’t think they could have possibly thought about this at all – we’re going to feel really isolated”, said Mr Meads.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “There are other services to Westbourne and Southbourne, and there is a very good service provided by Stagecoach along the A259 to Chichester in the east and to Emsworth, Havant and Portsmouth in the west.

“With regards to north Fishbourne, we have arranged for another service, the number 56, to cover that part of Fishbourne so a bus route is maintained.”

He added: “If there are small pockets of people that are disadvantaged and wish to investigate other transport options, then they should let us know.”