Fear over plans to suspend A24 bus stops

DM17631710a.jpg Lucy Stanton pictured in June with daughters Shannon and Tegan-rose after raising concerns over buses not stopping on the A24. Photo by Derek Martin. SUS-170630-181059008
DM17631710a.jpg Lucy Stanton pictured in June with daughters Shannon and Tegan-rose after raising concerns over buses not stopping on the A24. Photo by Derek Martin. SUS-170630-181059008

Concerns have been raised that residents could be left ‘housebound’ after the announcement two bus stops on the A24 may be suspended.

Stops serving Bar Lane, at Copsale, are set to be suspended at the end of the month after inspectors deemed them ‘unsafe for use’.

Lucy Stanton, who lives in Bar Lane, spoke of her outrage saying she and her neighbours would be trapped in their homes.

She said: “We are all infuriated. The kids can’t get to school and it’s not really fair.”

An investigation into both the northbound and southbound stops on the dual carriageway was carried out by West Sussex County Council following concerns raised by operator Metrobus.

Nick Hill, head of commercial at Metrobus, said: “West Sussex Council has assessed both bus stops at the Copsale Turn and deemed them unsafe for use which means we can no longer serve them.”

Lucy, who had previously raised concerns about buses failing to pick up and drop off people at the stops, said she had been given no response as to why the stops had been suspended and was worried about her children getting to school.

She said: “I know it’s dangerous but we do it in a way that is safe. My daughter has to go to school.

“We are all having to contact the schools now saying once these bus stops are gone that’s it we are all housebound.”

She added the next nearest stop was at Buck Barn Mcdonalds and would mean she and her children having to walk along the busy A24.

Mr Hill said: “Our drivers have been concerned for some time about the lack of safe place for passengers to stand and wait for the bus. The A24 is a very busy road with traffic travelling at high speeds. The northbound stop comes immediately after a bend in the road and the southbound is on a slip road which is difficult to navigate into and out of fast-moving traffic. Both stops are no more than small grass verges.

“So we asked the council to look into how to make the dual carriageway stops safer for passengers. In their assessment both stops were too unsafe to be in use at all.

“We very much understand the decision as it wasn’t that long ago one of our own buses was involved in a serious collision on that road while stationary at a stop.

“Equally we understand the frustration for our customers and can reassure them we’ll work tirelessly with the council to try to make these stops safe and brought back into service.”

A council spokesman added: “The stops are used on a commercial basis by Metrobus for its Service 23. The council has been liaising with them over the stops, leading to a safety assessment by a county council traffic engineer. He advised against them being used in their current configuration.

“Metrobus is asking its drivers to distribute notices to passengers, advising that the council is reviewing the bus stops and they may not be available from late October. We are also advising residents who are affected by this change to contact us so we can fully understand the impact of losing the stops and tell us about their travel needs so we can see if there is anything we can do to help.

“We are also aware children use the buses to get to and from school, so are liaising with our colleagues in the Education department to assess these pupils’ transport needs.”