New Service in Rural Mid Sussex - 14/06/2008
Cuckfield Rural Parish Council and Bluebird Community Partnership are launching a new bus service to take residents of Ansty and Staplefield to Burgess Hill every Thursday morning. A return trip will cost users just £1 from Staplefield, Orchard Way, Warninglid and Ansty and will stop at The Triangle, Tescos and Burgess Hill Town centre before returning two hours later.
The new service will be officially opened on Thursday 19th June by Mark Dunn, Chairman of West Sussex County Council, at 9.15 at the Victory car park in Staplefield. It will run on a trial basis for six months initially. Passengers just call 01444 471919 beforehand and the bus will then collect them from their own homes.
Pete Bradbury, Chairman of Cuckfield Rural Parish Council said “I am delighted that we are able to launch this service and am particularly pleased that Mark Dunn will be at the official opening. We are concerned that with the current very high and rising cost of fuel, anyone living in a rural area is open to potential social exclusion. At £1 return, our service is priced so that anyone can afford to travel. Even better, the first trip on 19th June is free, so residents can test the service for themselves at no cost.”
Pete, who is also the West Sussex County Councillor for Cuckfield and Lucastes added “I believe this is an important model as we continue to find ways to develop a greener and more sustainable transport policy. I will be inviting the Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Highways to visit our scheme to see how local councils with small budgets can make a big contribution.”
Bluebird, working with Cuckfield Rural Parish Council, have secured a £1000 social inclusion grant from AIRS ( Action In Rural Sussex) towards providing the service. It is aimed at those residents who may be open to social exclusion, so all residents of Cuckfield Rural Parish are eligible to travel on the bus. Bluebird’s vehicles are fully accessible, with lifts which allow wheelchair users and those with mobility scooters on board. The scheme will run initially for 6 months and CRPC will continue to support it thereafter provided passenger numbers are satisfactory.
Bluebird Chief Executive Matt Roberts said ‘We are delighted to be able to work with Cuckfield Rural Parish Council in this way. Access to facilities that most of us take for granted is an important issue in rural areas, particularly for those who are disabled or disadvantaged in some way. Residents of Ansty and Staplefield will be able to book their place on the minibus in advance and we will collect them from their homes.
Bluebird also provides group hire to local charities, schools, clubs and associations as well as patient transport to and from the Princess Royal Hospital and the vital Dial-a-Ride service. Anyone who feels that Bluebird may be able to help with their transport needs can contact them on 01444 471919.[Back to news]
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