Sussex Day 2012
I commented last week on the rather poor bus service serving the village of Fulking at the foot of the South Downs, in West Sussex.
Today however I read that the rather sparse service of two buses a week (the No. 62 between Midhurst and Brighton) will be withdrawn from September 2012.
West Sussex County Council’s latest (and supposedly final) round of bus subsidy cuts will reduce some bus services and lead to the complete withdrawal of others.
The reason for the withdrawal of this service is said to be down “to insufficient passenger numbers”, not surprising really, a service consisting of only two buses a week was never going to be successful in making people give up their cars and take the bus.
So if you were thinking of taking the bus to Fulking you better make it quick, you’ve just got a couple of months left.
According to the West Sussex County Council (WSCC) website “Bus travel offers a real alternative to the car”, but from September 2011 this might not be the case.
The WSCC have announced a public consultation into their proposals to reduce the subsidies given to local bus companies by £2 million over the next three years. Essentially this means that the bus companies will not be paid to run services which are not profitable enough for them to run in the first place. These are usually (but not alway) evening and weekend services, and usually to small rural villages.
As someone who doesn’t drive a car, buses (and trains) are not an alternative, they are my only method of transport, whether it is to get to work, to go shopping, heading for an archive or heading off somewhere to go walking. Living in a small rural village has its advantages, but access to public transport is not usually one of them.
Looking down the list of proposed cuts the other day was like looking at a list of old friends. Of course the service that I use to get to and from work is on the list (proposed cuts to the evening and Saturday services) but so are many of the buses that I have used in the past when I am out exploring the Sussex countryside or visiting places of interest.
Of course this blog is not the place to lodge my objections, that can be done in a variety of ways described on the WSCC website. The deadline for consultation is the 10th June 2011, so if you are a user of any West Sussex bus services then make sure you check out the website and see if you might be affected and make your opinions known.
If these cuts go ahead the public transport network in West Sussex is going to be radically different this time next year (and I might need to get myself bike).