A bus company has announced that it will axe a number of services, raising fears that residents of Southbourne, Westbourne, Emsworth and other surrounding villages will be left ‘isolated’ and with ‘no means of getting to work or school by public transport’.
From April 14, Emsworth and District Motor Services will cut the 28 from Southbourne and Havant; the A28A from Southbourne, Emsworth and Horndean Technology School and the 147 from Rowlands Castle to Bishop Luffa School.
It will also withdraw the 635 from Horndean Technology School to Clanfield; the 636 from Denmead to Horndean Technology School; and the 639 which runs from Clanfield, Horndean, Oaklands School and Havant College.
In a statement on its website the bus company said: “We are sorry for any inconvenience caused but these services are no longer economically viable to operate.
“The loss of the Hampshire County Council revenue and the loss of government BSOG funding mean that the services have had to run commercially since July 2016.
“We have tried our very best as a family firm to continue to serve the local community but unfortunately the operating costs exceed the bus revenue received including the concessionary fares received which are at an all-time low.
“Once again please accept our apologises.
“We do hope the government and Hampshire Council will look at supporting public bus services again as this is a nationwide problem.”
The company says the 54, which carries 26,000 passengers from Harting, Chichester and Petersfield; and the 91, 92 and 93 services which link Midhurst to Petersfield will continue to be operated by West Sussex County Council.
However there is some confusion after a Midhurst county councillor last week said these services were being lost.
The Observer has approached West Sussex County Council for clarification.
Reacting to the announcement, Southbourne resident Len Mates said: “This will leave Southbourne, Westbourne and other surrounding villages with no means of getting to work, schools, shops, chemists, doctors, dentists or anywhere else by public transport.
“This will put more cars on the roads for those who have them but will completely isolate those of us who have relied on the bus for such journeys. “Since my wife and I have lived here we have seen the bus service gradually diminish and now will finally disappear.
“Also with all the housing developments locally it will be even more vital to have an adequate transport system.
“We are both in our 90s and have relied on busses as we are no longer able to walk long distances and there are countless others in the same situation, we have bus passes but will be unable to use them.”
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