Introducing “Book-a-Bus” – the new, flexible transport option for rural areas in West Sussex


Release date: 05 September 2023

Travelling around parts of the county is now easier following the introduction of “Book-a-Bus”, a new flexible and on-demand bus service recently launched by West Sussex County Council.

“Book-a-Bus” now serves the rural areas between Chichester to Petworth and North Petworth - areas that previously had limited or no traditional bus services available.

The service operates within set zones and offers to pick-up passengers in convenient locations when they need it, all for the same price as a standard bus fare. Fares are currently capped at £2 per trip until October 2023, thereafter £2.50 per trip until November 2024.

With no conventional timetable or routes, the service operates on bookings received via the “Ride Pingo” app or by phone. Drop-off points with onward connections to travel by bus or train are also included within the service zone to ensure ease of onward travel.

Introducing Zone 1: The ”99 Semi Flex” and “99 Flex”

Operated by Compass Travel, this zone serves the rural area between Chichester and Petworth. There are two types of service available to passengers: the “99 Flex” is fully on-demand, while the existing “99 Semi Flex” service incorporates some fixed stops, can deviate within pre-defined areas and can be booked seven days in advance.

Introducing Zone 2: The “98 Flex”

The second zone introduced under the “Book-a-Bus” service is the “98 Flex”, which covers the rural area to the north of Petworth. Operated by Community Transport Sussex, the “98 Flex” is an on-demand service that has no fixed timetable or route.

The ”Book-a-Bus” service is part of our Bus Service Improvement Plan, a county council initiative, following a successful bid to the Department of Transport (DFT), which secured £17.4 million from central government to boost bus travel. The new service is part of a series of initiatives to make it easier and more attractive for residents and visitors to travel by bus.

Launch event: Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport, Councillor Joy Dennis, The Deputy Mayor of Chichester, Councillor Maureen Corfield, Petworth Town Councillor Juliet Fynes, County Council Member for Chichester East, Councillor Simon Oakley; and delegates from Community Transport Sussex, Compass Travel, The Routing Company, We Move, WSP, and West Sussex County Council.
Photo by Darren Cool

Councillor Joy Dennis, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “In Our Council Plan, one of our strategic priorities is to help improve the county’s transport network to maintain a sustainable and prosperous economy. Supporting the launch of on-demand bus services such as “Book-a-Bus” will help us achieve that.

“The flexibility of “Book-a-Bus” is vital for keeping our residents in rural areas connected with their communities and to provide continued access to key services. The service follows an on-demand rideshare approach, allowing for travel around popular locations at a time that’s convenient for them. Further expansion to areas such as the rural north-west Chichester, and villages in North Arun, are also being explored.”

Government Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “People up and down the country deserve a clean, reliable, and affordable public transport system. That is why we have provided West Sussex County Council with over £17 million to boost its bus services.

“Supporting the Council with this new service is fantastic for local residents, who will now be able to get to work, attend medical appointments and visit loved ones for less and more easily.”

Local resident James Pearce shared their “Book-a-Bus” experience on social media: “The 99 flexing around my local area today, it’s worked very well, with the bus turning up when I requested. Very convenient walking 5 steps out the door and onto the bus! Thank you for creating such a handy service.”

How to book

To “Book-a-Bus”, residents need to download the “Ride Pingo” app or call our call centre on 01243 858854. Bookings for the fully flexible service can be made for up to five passengers per trip, subject to availability.

Anyone can use the service, anytime between 7am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday excluding Bank Holidays. Residents looking for connections to Billingshurst should visit

For more information on “Book-a-Bus”, visit 

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Last updated:
5 September 2023
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