Campaigner asks for community’s support in getting Hayling Island bus project off the ground

From left, Pauline Scutt, Michael Evans, Roark McMaster, Colin Hill and Tony Berry  Group wants to set up a community-led shuttle bus in Hayling Island
From left, Pauline Scutt, Michael Evans, Roark McMaster, Colin Hill and Tony Berry Group wants to set up a community-led shuttle bus in Hayling Island

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I WON’T give up, the island needs this – that’s the message from one campaigner who is vowing to start a community-funded shuttle bus service.

After a second meeting to discuss a means of transport from various points on Hayling Island to and from the Hayling Ferry, Labour party supporter Michael Evans is asking for support.

Despite the half-a-dozen turn out, the activist said he knew people were keen to see the project take off, especially as no island bus service took people to the Hayling Ferry.

Mr Evans said: ‘We want to enable those using the ferry to get back and forth to it. Taxis can be expensive and there’s no public transport. It means more people would use the ferry, too.

‘The community would need to raise between £48,000-£60,000 for a 20-seater bus, and additional funds for a driver and so on. I think this can be achieved with help from business sponsors who would later benefit.

‘I need people to engage with the project in order to get it off the ground, even though I support the Labour party, I’d like people from all political parties to help.

‘At the next meeting I want people to come and scrutinise the usage figures for the ferry, so we can make plans.’

Michael hopes the project would eventually fund itself.

Anne Skennerton, leader of the Hayling Island Residents Association, said: ‘Most Islanders would welcome this service but I wonder if buying a bus at the cost projected is best, given it will need maintenance, insurance and staffing.

‘I wonder if any thought has been given to renting a shuttle bus? If Crowd-funding were considered a trust fund could be established.’

Councillors pledged their support, but raised concerns about the project’s viability.

Hayling West councillor Michael Wilson said: ‘In theory it’s a great idea and we certainly need more people using the ferry, but I have concerns about the reality of raising the funds necessary.

‘It’s an idea to look at how other projects, like the extension of the community centre, came together.’

John Perry, councillor for Hayling West and Ukip candidate for Havant, said: ‘Many groups on the island support this project so it would be wrong for any one political party to claim it as their own.

‘I understand the Hayling Seaside Railway are trying to set up a similar service.’

Colin Hill, who runs the ferry on behalf of Baker Trayte Marine Ltd, confirmed he’s happy to provide Mr Evans with the ferry usage figures for the next meeting.

He added: ‘There’s hundreds of people each week who come off the ferry without any means of transport to further their journeys.’

A meeting to discuss the issue will be held on July 1, at 11am at the Royal Shades Pub.