So, our MP Amber Rudd is totally opposed to her county council colleague’s plans to drastically reduce Hastings’ bus services and wants us all to respond to the consultation. Good – but she could say far more.
For example, what exactly is the point of yet another consultation? These new proposals are so extreme who on earth is going to think they are a good idea? For example, take services 20, 21, 22 between Hollington, town centre and Ore. Who is in their right mind going to say the plan to ‘remove services after 7pm Monday - Saturday and completely on Sunday’ is a good idea? No one.
Another example. Service 344 Rye to Hastings through Winchelsea Beach, Pett Level, Fairlight and Ore. How many think it a jolly fine idea to ‘reduce off peak service to two hourly Monday – Saturday and remove Sunday service’. Again, no one.
If she wants to be really helpful Amber could point out that the county council must carry out as a legal requirement an equality impact assessment into these plans. As far as I can see it has never conducted a complete assessment into bus plans and it needs to do so now, and it needs to involve the representatives of disabled and vulnerable people as a priority.
It can not lawfully remove services if it knows its plan will create inequality. And my word, these plans will surely result in inequality. Hastings had better bus services back to the time of the horse-drawn tram.
She could also be clear with her constituents – the county is not short of money. East Sussex would never have got into this mess had it got a sensible transport policy.
The county’s finance problems stem from its obsession with building the link road – 3.5 miles for £100 million and rising. That’s £28 million a mile. And how much does the supported bus service for the whole county cost - £2.38 million a year or just enough to build 150 yards of road.