Sompting residents left stranded by temporary cancellation of ‘lifeline’ bus service

A Sompting woman has described the disruption caused by the temporary loss of a ‘lifeline’ bus service.

Christine Dove, 72, lives in Howard Road and relies on the number 7 bus to get into Worthing for shopping and to collect prescriptions.

Christine Dove, 72, was forced to take a treachorous hilly route after her bus was cancelled without warning SUS-190416-132149001

Christine Dove, 72, was forced to take a treachorous hilly route after her bus was cancelled without warning SUS-190416-132149001

From April 8 to 10, she said the service was rerouted without any notice due to emergency gas works in Halewick Lane, leaving many older residents stranded.

“The bus service is our lifeline,” she said. “A lot of us are elderly and widowed – my husband died, so I sold the car as I had no use for it. We rely and depend on this service.”

She said she had to go out on the Wednesday to collect her prescription, so she was forced to walk down the steep hill to Cokeham Road and fell, cutting her leg and bloodying her foot.

On other days, when she managed to get down the hill safely, she was forced to get taxis home as she would not have been able to get back up the hill to her house.

Mrs Dove said she had written to the directors of Compass Travel – which operates the service on behalf of Stagecoach and was not responsible for the disruption – expressing the ‘stress and anxiety’ the cancellation had caused and asking for a refund of her taxi fares.

She called for an apology from the bus company.

A spokesman for Stagecoach said the emergency works meant there was no time to make plans or notify customers.

“The extent of the impact was of great concern to us as we do most definitely recognise the importance of the bus service to residents in that area,” he said.

“Regrettably, the point at which Halewick Lane was closed made it incredibly difficult for us to devise a workable diversion route that could serve the whole of the normal route, particularly because there is no westbound access to the A27 from the estate. We are naturally extremely sorry for the disruption and inconvenience caused to our customers.”