Villagers’ fears over plans to axe bus stops

Crabtree Gate bus stop on the A281 near Cowfold   Photo: Google
Crabtree Gate bus stop on the A281 near Cowfold Photo: Google

Villagers fear they are being left ‘isolated’ following proposals to axe bus stops along a rural part of the A281.

Residents in Picts Lane, Cowfold, are concerned about West Sussex County Council plans to halt buses from stopping at Crabtree Gate bus stop on the A281 and at nearby Homelands because of safety fears on the winding country road.

Worried mum Emma Passmore first raised concerns when bus drivers sometimes failed to stop or failed to drop off schoolchildren at the stops.

Instead, she said, the children were left at other stops along the route and then had to walk back along the high-speed A281 which has no pathway or verge.

Bus companies Stagecoach and Sussex Coaches, which both operate along the route, say that the bus stops are sited at danger spots with limited space to pull off the busy road.

But Emma said suspending the bus stops would mean “there are no bus stops in the area now. Anyone wanting to get on the No17 is not going to be able to. It makes us very isolated.”

She said that, since concerns were first raised, the county council had arranged alternative school transport for children in the area, but other people were still missing out.

A Stagecoach spokesperson said: “Following guidance from West Sussex County Council we are currently unable to serve the bus stops at Crabtree Gate on the route 17, due to safety concerns, which we fully support.

“We are working with the council to find a safer compromise and understand that West Sussex County Council are liaising with the school and naturally we would welcome a solution to enable us to collect and drop off these children in a manner that is safe for everyone.”

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “We are aware of concerns raised and are working with the families and bus operators on possible solutions.”