Midhurst Community Bus needs more passengers

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The Midhurst Community Bus Association is continuing its battle to raise the number of passengers.

Chairman Nick Wheeler told the annual meeting the bus carried 3,857 passengers in the 12 months to March this year.

“I estimate an average of something like 20 a day and my target for the time being is 25 a day,” he said.

In March this year a new timetable was launched, the first revision since the early days of the Midhurst community bus, said Mr Wheeler.

“The new timetable included a new service to Milland and the take-up has been disappointing. The management committee is looking at how we can best deal with this.”

Mr Wheeler said the committee was only too aware the timeable must evolve and reflect passenger demands.

“In this respect the forthcoming cuts in local bus services and the drastic reductions in DoRiS operations, caused by the cost-cutting at West Sussex County Council, will all have an effect on our services, but as yet unknown.”

He said it was crucial to promote the services offered by the community bus and the management committee was now working with the Midhurst Transport Forum as part of the Midhurst Community Partnership.

The state of the association’s finances had much improved since last year with donations maintained and increased.

“I am very pleased to say we have recently received generous support from the Rotary Club of Midhurst and Petworth, who are hoping to support us on a long-term basis.”

There has also been a big increase in income from hirings and for the new timetable the cost of fares had increased to 80p per ride.

There had been an increase in the number of volunteer drivers this year, added Mr Wheeler, but the number of escorts remained a concern.

He thanked members of the management committee and all the volunteers who worked tirelessly for the service and also volunteers Carolyn Kroese, Jenny Hughes, Jamne Simspon and Nigel Negus who had stood down.