THE news that the 99a bus service from Petworth via Tangmere and St Richard’s to Chichester is to be discontinued at the beginning of April is devastating.
This service was subsidised by the South Downs National Park Authority and partly replaced the discontinued 55a service from Tangmere which was cut out by West Sussex County Council a couple of years ago.
This service is two hourly on Sundays and bank holidays, not very frequent, but it means that at least isolated folk in rural areas are not completely cut off and they are able to reach the services in Chichester and, of course, the all important St Richard’s Hospital.
Cutting this service out will mean that at Easter, for example, with two bank holidays and a Sunday, the bus will only be available on Saturday, leaving the would be passengers with three out of four days with no service.
This service is also the only route in or out of Chichester to access the hospital and therefore affects all the other villages south and west of the city.
I am informed that this service is not commercial without the subsidy.
I have used the 99a fairly frequently and and it always seemed to be well used and appreciated, surely they can’t expect a bus full on every trip, this is not London.
Loneliness is a huge problem, not only amongst the elderly, but also other isolated people often leading to poor quality of life and depression, very expensive for the NHS. Cutting this service is a cruel blow to many.
Lastly as a Tangmere resident I would like to say that it seems OK for CDC and WSCC to insist that our village is doubled in size over the next few years, but not OK to continue with a marginal bus service.
I do think that buses should be about people and not profit. It is not much to ask for an infrequent service on Sundays and bank holidays.