Campaign to restore half-hourly buses in Sompting

The number seven bus in Sompting
The number seven bus in Sompting

A SOMPTING woman has started a campaign to restore a half-hourly service on the number seven bus route.

Many residents rely on the service which runs through the village, taking passengers to supermarkets, stations and post offices, as well as Worthing town centre.

But in the summer the service was cut from half-hourly to hourly, making it more difficult for residents to get around.

Mrs Kay Vincent, chairman of Cokeham Liberal Democrats, said: “I was shocked to realise that in north Sompting there is only one bus per hour, but south Sompting have buses every ten minutes during the day.”

Mrs Vincent has written to Compass Travel, the bus company that runs the number seven service, about the lack of buses to north Sompting and Lancing.

She wrote that she believed that older people and other vulnerable groups in the area would become increasingly isolated without more frequent buses.

“They might be put off going on journeys because of the thought of waiting up to an hour in the cold,” she said.

“The hourly service for the number seven is similar to one you would expect for a rural village, not a residential area on the South Coast that is right next to the A27.”

Mrs Vincent said she hoped for a meeting with Compass’s managing director Christopher Chatfield to discuss making improvements to the service.

She said: “I hope he will be ready to listen to suggestions from local residents and perhaps together we can find a better solution which could maximise the benefits to residents yet also be efficient and effective from the bus company’s point of view.”

Mr Chatfield said Compass had no control over timetabling and that the responsibility lay with Stagecoach.

Stagecoach has not yet responded to inquiries.

Daily bus user Constance Fairclough, 94, said: “It’s disgusting what we have to put up with. I can’t get to a hospital appointment unless I pay for a taxi. It’s very inconvenient.”

Parish councillor Ken Bashford said Sompting’s evening and Sunday services had become ‘appalling’, and that he was working with district and county councillors to improve the situation for bus users.

He added that the lack of buses serving Sompting’s pubs could well lead to an increase in drink driving.

The last number seven back from Worthing gets into the village at 7.12pm.