Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Survey launched to help manage bus service cuts

West Sussex County Council has launched a survey to find out more about how people use certain bus services.

The bus user survey will help the County Council when making further decisions around which bus subsidies have to be reduced.

The County Council announced earlier this year that it would be reducing in phases the subsidy it gives to bus companies for non commercial routes by £2 million. This is part of a drive by the County Council to reduce spending by £79 million over three years following significant grant reductions from central government.

The bus subsidy reductions are being introduced in three phases:

•  The first phase was announced in July and is in the process of being implemented.
•  The second phase is being scrutinised at the next Strategic Environmental Services Select Committee on Wednesday November 30. A decision on this phase is due in December with changes implemented in 2012.
•  The forthcoming bus user survey relates to the third phase. The decision and implementation of this phase will take place in 2012/2013.

Most routes are run on a commercial basis. However, some routes receive a subsidy from the County Council.

In order to make an informed decision on the choice of routes in the third phase of savings, the County Council needs to know more about how people use the following subsidised bus routes:

Arriva: 63
Compass: 8, 8A, 16, 19, 69, 84, 85, 99, 100, 106, 108, 109, 601, 619
Countryliner: 30, 31, 33, 33B, 36, 37, 38, 40
Emsworth & District: 11
Metrobus: 23, 61, 82, 84, 89, 200, 270, 271, 273, 281, 291, 684
Stagecoach: 47, 47A, 56, 66, 66A, 67, 70

The survey asks when people use the routes above and where they travel to. It also asks what impact it would have if the route were no longer available.

Bus passengers on the routes listed can help by completing the survey online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/buses

The closing date for feedback is January 17 2012.

Anyone requiring help in completing the survey can call 01243 642105 or email buses@westsussex.gov.uk

West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Pieter Montyn, said: “We have been actively working with bus companies to look for alternative ways to keep services running and we have already seen that some services will be able to continue running on a commercial basis.

“This shows that the removal of a subsidy does not necessarily mean the end of a service. We are committed to doing all we can to keep services running, but, as difficult as it is, we simply must make these savings.”

The majority of bus journeys will remain unchanged as a result of the phased £2million subsidy reduction. the County Council estimates these reductions will affect less than ten per cent of bus journeys made in the county – two million bus journeys out of a total of 24 million made every year.

For more information on the survey or for information on decisions which have already been made go to www.westsussex.gov.uk/buses

Recommendations on changes to subsidies are being made by a cross-party working group of councillors. The working group, supported by officers, has undertaken detailed research into bus usage and has considered feedback from organisations and the public.

The approach taken by the working group in the first phase was supported by the Strategic Environmental Services (SES) Select Committee at its meeting on May 25 2011.

The working group’s recommendations on phase two will be scrutinised at the next SES Select Committee on Wednesday November 30 at 10.30am at County Hall, Chichester. The meeting will be webcast on the County Council website at www.westsussex.gov.uk Members of the public are also welcome to attend.

Committee Chairman, Duncan Crow, said: “This is an important issue which is affecting many people so we are pleased to be able to scrutinise and comment on the phase two recommendations in advance of the Cabinet Member decision.

“We want to make sure all possible measures are being considered to mitigate the effects of these reductions.”

3 Comments

  1. Posted 5 Dec, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    We feel i.e both my wife and myself if services are cut will find ourselves totally cut out from the outside world, as we are retired and do not own a car this is the only transport available to us, making shopping, hospital visit and other accessible routine more bearable and acceptable.

  2. Posted 7 Dec, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    As I use buses a great deal to travel to Horsham,Worthing and Tunbridge, it would be a great lost to me for the buses to be discontinued….I had to give my car up sometime ago and being on a very low income, I’m unable to afford train fares….so that means I and I know many others will be trapped in Crawley…Is that fair?

  3. Posted 2 Apr, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    It is so obvious that car ownership is getting out of hand in the UK. and people should be rewarded for not owning a car. The Council Tax should be placed on car ownership rather than home ownership. Why should one person living in a large house be expected to pay 5 times more than several people living in a terraced house just for having their dustbin emptied once a week? This idea would enable those without cars to have extra money in their pockets to be able to afford to travel where they wish to go!