In September Worthing Daily congratulated Stagecoach South and Compass Travel on the then new 7 bus service providing an east-west route across the town. The service which previously ran from Lancing through Worthing town centre was extended to High Salvington.
One of the compromises at the time was the reduction in the frequency of the service from half-hourly to hourly . Naturally those passengers on the Lancing to Worthing section were disappointed and have increasingly made their views known in the press and to the operators.
We understand Lancing Parish Council took the opportunity to interview bus managers on the situation at their last full council meeting and ‘Sompting Big Local’ will discuss it at their meeting on March 10th. Sompting was allocated £1 million, spread over ten years, as part of the Lottery BIG local programme. This lottery initiative must be community led, driven and delivered to enable local people to identify their own priorities to improve their area. It would appear buses are one of those priorities.
In September we pointed out the dearth of Sunday and evening bus services and the probable affect on Worthing’s night time economy. We suggested tapping unused S.106 funds ring-fenced for sustainable or public transport to tackle the issue – there has been none forthcoming.
At Tuesday’s Worthing budget setting meeting the Liberal Democrats proposed another source of funds to improve bus services – specifically to restore the frequency of the number 7. They proposed using reserves to subsidise the extra bus needed but the proposal was voted down.
The additional bus would not only provide a more frequent service to the good citizens of Lancing and Sompting but also to those households without a car in Worthing town centre travelling to Lyons Farm and Sainsburys. In Central ward over 45% of households do not own a car and in Heene over 40%.
Worthing Daily asks that those without cars are not forgotten.
Worthing Daily Editor Alan Rice is Leader of the Worthing Borough Council Liberal Democrat Group.