Chichester Society says bus cuts go too far

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Axeing many Sunday and evening bus services across the area would be a dramatic and disproportionate step, according to transport campaigners.

The Chichester Society said although cuts needed to be made, those proposed by West Sussex County Council would restrict many people’s activities, leaving a large number without any form of public transport at all, or forced to buy a car.

It said WSCC was proposing to make larger cuts for bus services than almost any other county, with buses being the ‘sacrificial victims of the squeeze’.

It has asked WSCC to reconsider its budget allocation to ensure a skeleton service to major centres of population continues throughout the week, including evening services.

Hampshire was proposing to cut £2m, but from a larger budget, which represented 22 per cent, compared to WSCC’s 40 per cent.

The society has said that where some support was currently given to daytime services, it should be transferred to evening services.

“In other cases we would hope that if it is really impossible to avoid such swingeing cuts, then at least imaginative solutions such as minibus transport or flexible routes would be considered,” said society chairman David Wilson.

Birdham resident Stephen Crossley has urged members of the public to suggest alternative solutions for maintaining a sustainable service.

He said many developments had been granted planning permission in part on the strength of the existing transport service and there would no doubt be more development in the future.

“We need to get the whole community to think hard for a possible solution and, if one is identified, then it’s time to roll up our sleeves and together help make it work,” he said.