West Sussex County Council is undertaking a detailed survey of passenger use of services it supports financially. It expects to make cuts to help it meet an overall overspend of £5.7million this financial year, stating that ‘the loss of core funding from government since 2010 amounts to around £145million’.
The council has reduced part of its network in recent years, and currently around 15% of services are subsidised.
Their main operator is Worthing-based Compass Travel, though both Stagecoach (to the north and west of Midhurst) and Go-Ahead Group-owned Metrobus (local routes in Horsham and parts of interurban services running north from Brighton) are affected.
The outcome of the survey is due to be reported in December. It follows a consultation on the council’s bus strategy, where almost half of the 1,300 responses came from concessionary pass holders.
Priorities such as clean engine technology, affordable fares for younger people and easy payment systems were pushed down the list, with most support given to investment in accessible infrastructure; priority for buses in congested areas; and working across local government to fund local bus and community transport services.