New 86 school bus route chosen

SUSSEX Coaches was chosen to run a replacement of the axed school run 86 bus service by customers at a meeting last Wednesday.

About 40 people attended in Cowfold where options were considered and those present had the opportunity to ask questions. Operators also stated their case for taking over the route in April.

A ballot was then held and Sussex Coaches was the clear winner.

Its schedule sets out from Partridge Green, departing from Cowfold at 7.30am for the early run.

After school it arrives in Cowfold at 4.15pm before heading for Partridge Green.

Fares match Metrobus at about £10 per week per child and the company will accept the three in one card, giving a 50 per cent discount.

As well as serving the school run, the bus will be available as a public bus to pay as you go passengers with the route beginning in Billingshurst and terminating at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

Southwater can be included in the timetable if needed.

At the end of the meeting, Cowfold resident Jenny Sutton thanked the Save the 86 Bus campaigners for their hard work.

Elaine Lawless, of Southwater, said they may feel they had lost our battle against the council’s cuts, but she felt they had won by hanging onto a public bus service despite the council.

Campaigners said it had been a ‘long and difficult’ seven months since West Sussex County Council announced the bus funding was to be withdrawn.

“If we had not fought we would either have no service or almost certainly we would have been paying three times as much for a children only charter,” said Caroline Collins after the meeting.

Community transport for other 86 bus users is still being researched and a survey has been sent out to all residents in Cowfold with the closing date for replies January 28.

Details can be obtained from the Post Office in Cowfold as well as online on the Cowfold Parish Council’s website.