Petition to save ‘lifeline’ bus service in Lancing and Sompting gathers support
A petition calling for the number 16 bus to continue running between Lancing and Lyons Farm has amassed hundreds of signatures since it was started last week.
The Tarring to Lancing Compass 16 bus is one of several subsidised routes due to be affected as West Sussex County Council seeks to save £300,000.
From April, the number 16 bus will no longer serve the Lancing and Sompting section of the route, the county council has said.
Councillor Ann Bridges, who started the petition, said many people relied on the bus to get into Lancing village centre as well as to Worthing Hospital.
“It’s quite invaluable to people with poor mobility and some with impaired vision as well,” she said. “A lot of people are worried about it.”
Mrs Bridges said the alternative route suggested by the county council would require people to walk down to Brighton Road and catch the 700 bus to Brooklands, where they would have to cross over four lanes of traffic to catch the Pulse bus into the centre – a journey she fears some elderly members of the community would not be able to manage.
Without the bus, she said: “I think some people could be isolated.”
Paper copies of the petition have been distributed in shops around the village and Mrs Bridges said there had been a lot of support so far.
She is planning to deliver the signatures to the next Environment, Communities and Fire Select Committee meeting in March.
A spokesman for Lancing Parish Council said both the Lancing and Sompting Parish Councils had agreed to fight the loss of the service, adding that the alternative services were ‘not suitable replacements’ for most of the bus users.
Gloria Eveleigh, chairman of Lancing Parish Council, said: “There are very many people in Lancing and Sompting whose lives will become significantly harder and more isolated if this bus, which is their lifeline, is withdrawn.”
A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “The county council faces an unprecedented financial challenge.
“Funding from central government is decreasing whilst demand for our services is increasing.
“When considering which services were no longer viable, we took a number of different factors into consideration, including what other local provision was in place.
“In the case of the 16 route, there are alternative services to Worthing/Shoreham and passengers can change using the very frequent services with a short wait to access Lancing/Worthing Hospital and Lyons Farm shops.
“It’s important to stress that we are continuing to subsidise bus services in the county and, in the majority of cases where there are route changes, an alternative bus will be available fairly nearby.
“All parish councils were given the opportunity to have their say on their local services through the Bus User Survey, which ran from October 8, 2018 until November 18.
“However, we will be we meeting with them to discuss possible issues and ways we could work with them to seek local alternatives such as community transport.”