A new bus service trial began yesterday to cover Chanctonbury and Hammonds Ridge housing estates in Burgess Hill following concerns about the impact of the Metrobus service being axed.
A minibus will operate twice a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays for six months to take residents to the town centre.
Burgess Hill Town Council has responded to residents from these estates who were concerned that they would no longer be able to get into the town centre when their regular bus service was cancelled due to low patronage.
Burgess Hill town mayor Anne Jones, said: “I think this is great. It’s important for elderly residents to have a working service if they want to go shopping or meet their friends.
“We have an elderly population on the south West side of Burgess hill, for older people if they don’t get out or get exercise it’s bad for their health and they can become isolated.”
The Town Council has worked with West Sussex County Council who are funding Bluebird Community Partnership to provide the service.
“We want to increase the service from the six month funding,” the mayor added.
Matt Roberts, CEO of Bluebird Community Partnership said: “When the bus service for Hammonds Ridge and Chanctonbury was withdrawn, Bluebird received a number of calls from concerned residents and we were able to help some on our regular Dial-a-Ride service. We are very happy to be able to run this pilot scheme with the support of West Sussex County Council and Burgess Hill Town Council. We hope that the residents will make use of this new service so that, as the community transport charity for the area, we can provide a long term solution for those who need to get into town.”
Mayor Jones added: “I am delighted that the West Sussex County Council County Local Committee agreed to finance this initiative.
“As it is a trial it is important that we get as many people using it in order for it to continue to run. This is an excellent example of local councils listening to what our community is telling us and doing something about it.”
Residents can find out full details of the bus route, times and cost from Burgess Hill Town Council’s Help Point, 96 Church Walk, call 01444 247726 or visit www.burgesshill.gov.uk.