COUNCILLORS, residents and other key members of the community gathered in Sompting last Thursday to launch a new long-awaited bus service.
The 7A Sunday and bank holiday bus for north and west Sompting residents will set off for the first time tomorrow, Good Friday.
We were also pleased that so many local residents turned upChris Chatfield of Compass Travel
Sompting parish councillor Kay Vincent has been piloting the project for two years after reading there was an outcry for the service in the Herald.
She said: “The event was really well attended by a mix of people. It was great to see them all.”
Representatives from Sompting Parish Council, Compass Travel, Stagecoach South, Sompting Big Local and Adur District Council joined the celebration.
With the Stagecoach 7A bus present, five residents gleefully cut the ribbon in Steepdown Road, Sompting, outside The Joyful Whippet pub.
Sompting Parish Council has spent £2,500 on the service, which will run for a six-month period. If it proves to be popular, more funds will be raised to continue it.
Members of Sompting Big Local, which contributed £500 towards the project, came to show their support.
A spokesperson for the community hub, said: “The launch event provided an opportunity for local residents that have suffered from the reductions in the number 7 bus service to make local councillors and bus company representatives aware of the importance placed by the local community on this service.”
However, Mrs Vincent warned residents that if the service is not used it could be lost.
She said: “We have only got the funding for six months at the moment, but it all depends on whether people do use it. If they do, then as we go along I will continue to campaign and get the money.”
In 2012, Compass Travel took over the operation of the Stagecoach South route 7 in Worthing under a franchise agreement, and will therefore be operating the 7A also.
Chief executive of Compass Travel Chris Chatfield said: “We’re very pleased to be providing this service where there’s been a gap in the market.
“We were also pleased that so many local residents turned up, which showed there is a definite need for it.”
Adur district councillor for Sompting, Carson Albury, was also in attendance.
The route will take passengers to and from Worthing, and will stop at Sedbury Road, Sylvan Road and Marquis of Granby in Sompting.
The 7A bus launches tomorrow (Good Friday) and will run every Sunday and bank holiday from then on.