Bognor Regis and Midhurst ‘lifeline’ bus route saved – but others reduced

THE news a ‘lifeline’ bus route which serves Bognor Regis will continue to operate on Sundays and on public holidays has been welcomed.

But some evening services will be axed from January 2012.

The number 60 Sunday service has escaped changes, announced by bus operator Stagecoach, meaning the bus which runs between Bognor Regis and Midhurst will continue.

Bus-pass holder Milly Turner, of Nyetimber, uses regularly the bus to visit the town centre on a Sunday.

The 78-year-old said: “It would have been dreadful to stop the buses on a Sunday. They are often full up.

“The buses are a vital lifeline to many people, especially elderly people like myself who might not like travelling on Saturdays when they are busier.”

Louise Bedford, of Rose Green, said: “The 60 service is very important.

“I use it on a Sunday to get to work. Without it I would have had to have paid for a taxi.

“What would have been the point of going to work?”

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

A spokesperson said: “In April 2012, we face an increase in our fuel costs and it is also possible the changes may lead to a fall in revenue on these remaining journeys.

“If so, we may need to look at evenings and Sundays again.”

But the route will see a reduction on Monday to Saturdays.

The last bus from Chichester to Bognor and Elmer will be at 7.47pm instead of 10.54pm for Bognor passengers and 9.54pm for those travelling to Elmer.

The last journey from Elmer will be at 8.40pm calling at Bognor High Street at 8.58pm instead of a bus leaving Elmer at 10.40pm.

Mike Holden, who works in Chichester, catches the last bus to Bognor three times a week.

“I work in shifts so I am often leaving Chichester quite late. The change in bus times will make it really difficult,” he said.

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