‘Much-missed’ bus service into Chichester to be reintroduced

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A ‘much-missed’ Sunday bus service to St Richard’s Hospital is to be re-introduced this October half term.

The Stagecoach 55 bus service will be extended to provide residents in Westhampnett, Boxgrove and Tangmere with Sunday and bank holiday transport into Chichester city centre.

Many residents who relied on the bus for hospital visits expressed their frustration after a previous Sunday service sponsored by South Downs National Park was discontinued.

Kate Beach, a Tangmere parish councillor, said: “Tangmere Parish Council is happy that Stagecoach have recognised the need for a Sunday and bank holiday bus service for their residents and those of the whole district who need to access the hospital and the city. We understand that this service will be run on a commercial basis.”

The announcement comes after four parish councils approached Compass Bus for a Sunday service along the route in light of transport difficulties faced by residents.

Compass Bus had asked for a £6,000 subsidy for a 55a service to run for six months, pending a review.

Chichester City Council approved £2,000 in funding for the bus service at a meeting on July 25.

The parish councils of Boxgrove, Tangmere and Westhampnett had agreed to make up the total, with contributions of £1,250 to £1,500 each.

Compass Bus manager Chris Chapfield confirmed that the company no longer planned to run the 55a, but declined to comment further on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.

Commercial director for Stagecoach South, Mark Turner, said a timetable for the Sunday service will be available from early September.

He said: “Overtime travel patterns are changing and Sundays are becoming more important. In Chichester’s case the City Centre is much more active on a Sunday as new businesses open and thus people need to travel in to work and to visit.

“It is a pattern we are seeing across our business and thus we have invested more in both evening and Sunday services.”