Sussex

Stagecoach to cut some Sunday services in West Sussex

Several bus routes in West Sussex are to lose their Sunday services.

Stagecoach said it would be stopping the services on some of its routes from January after the withdrawal of county council subsidies.

Routes from Midhurst to Petersfield, Worthing to Lancing, Chichester to Tangmere and Pulborough to Midhurst, will no longer operate on Sundays.

Many evening and Sunday routes received the subsidies. Initially, all those services were going to be axed.

However, some routes have seen an increase in passenger numbers and will be retained.

Andrew Dyer, managing director of Stagecoach, said: "This is all down to county council budget problems.

"Once we received notification from the county council we embarked on a detailed survey of each journey we run.

"What we've seen is - probably due to Sunday trading - in some of the towns, services have become better used over the last few years so we have been able to retain them commercially.

"Some of the less well-used rural journeys, like the Pullborough to Midhurst, I'm afraid there just aren't enough people to make the service financially viable, so without county council support we can't carry on."

'Not easy'

The county council announced in February it would be reducing the subsidy it gives to bus companies in West Sussex by £2m, leaving a budget of £2.7m per year.

The savings, which will be phased over a three-year period, are part of what the county council says is a need to reduce its overall spending by £79m.

Pieter Montyn, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "Decisions such as these are not easy to make. But we simply have to make these savings and unfortunately some supported services will have their subsidies withdrawn."

Changes to the services could come into force from Sunday, 1 January.

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