Tangmere loses battle for Sunday service

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Tangmere has lost its battle to keep vital Sunday bus services after Stagecoach announced the areas which will lose out in its comprehensive review.

The good news is the Link 51 route from Chichester to Selsey, the Circuit 52/53 from Chichester to the Witterings, and Route 60 from Bognor to Chicheser and Midhurst have all been saved.

That, however, is no consolation to Tangmere residents who will lose the number 55 service on Sundays – a move which is down to lack of use, according to Stagecoach.

The company has warned that services may yet be affected in April next year when new taxes on the bus industry are imposed, and the effects of a likely rise in fuel cost will be felt.

The Tangmere service will be withdrawn early in January 2012.

Vice-chairman of Tangmere Parish Council Brian Wood said residents were reliant on the serivce.

“It’s going to cause us quite a lot of problems,” he said.

“The youths will have great difficulty getting into Chichester if they want to go to the pictures or to sports clubs.

“There are also people who want to visit people in hospital; there are a lot of people here who do rely on it.

“People have been very concerned about it. People are going to have to use taxis to get to and from Chichester, which is quite costly.”

The move has been forced by West Sussex County Council’s withdrawal of funding for evening and Sunday services.

Commercial manager at Stagecoach South Mark Tuner said it was not possible to subsidise the poorly-used routes with the high-revenue routes.

“If one particular route was doing well, that route should run at a high frequency; it’s not fair that one set of passengers should subsidise another,” he said.

“We are disappointed with what has had to happen.

“Fuel price is a bit of a double-edged sword: it costs us, but it costs the motorist so in some ways high fuel prices make people think twice about using their car.

“Nothing is ever certain in the world, but I am very confident we won’t be making further cutbacks unless things change.

“If the economy has a real downturn and there are further job losses in the area, everything is possible. I would never guarantee anything.”