Troubled route not a priority for bus firm

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Jpse-26-10-12-003-bus-surgery
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Changes will not be made to a popular Hailsham bus route despite a catalogue of concerns from passengers.

Around 100 people asked for incresed reliability and a Sunday service when they went toe-to-toe with bosses from bus operator Stagecoach.

The issues, centred around the route 98 service, were raised at the “Your Bus Matters” event held by Bus Users UK.

But Stagecoach has confirmed the route through the town is not a priority.

The firm’s spokeswoman said: “We have to prioritise these initiatives for the busiest routes to benefit the greatest number of people possible.”

She added: “We will reconsider route 98...however there are currently other services with greater Monday to Saturday demand which will have to take priority.”

Members of East Sussex Bus Users’ Group, Wealden District Council (WDC) and Hailsham Town Council also attended the event.

Town Cllr Barry Marlowe, representative for Hailsham Bus Alliance, said the surgery was a positive step because it gave residents the chance to speak to the people in charge.

He added: “Problems appear to centre around the 98 bus being frequently late and that it doesn’t run enough.

“A lot of people want it to run seven days a week.

“The head of Stagecoach was at the event and he told me there was no question that they must have a quick and hard look and the number 98 because it came up all the time in people’s complaints.”

Stagecoach are set to revise the bus timetable in the spring, confirmed the Stagecoach spokeswoman said.

The event was one of a rolling programme of surgeries that have been held over the past nine years across the UK.

There principal aim is to give bus users the chance to discuss concerns and know their views will be taken seriously.

For more information about the Alliance’s aims visit www.wealden.gov.uk