People living in Uckfield, Hailsham and Crowborough can help make a difference to bus services to the towns.
The Bus Alliance is holding a bus surgery day from 10am-4pm on Friday, September 11 at Uckfield Railway Station organised with Bus Users UK under the banner ‘Your Bus Matters.’ On hand will be representatives from the Sussex Community Rail Partnership, District, County and Town councils and the Wealden passenger user group.
Cllr Barry Marlowe said: “If you have strong views about public transport here’s a chance to put them to people with the power to make changes.”
He describes one problem with the popular but long route 29 between Brighton and Tunbridge Wells where congestion means the bus often arrives late in Uckfield. He explained: “We are working with Brighton and Hove Buses to resolve this.”
Barry also believes the hourly route 54 from Uckfield to East Grinstead is not frequent enough. He went on: “I used to be a bus driver - I steered Routemasters through the City of London and have been involved with buses all my life including Stagecoach and Southdown. I know that once you up the frequency passenger numbers increase.”
He said a new firm is coming onto the scene as Seaford and District Motor Services take over the 261 Uckfield to Eastbourne route from Compass. “Another frequency problem - it’s two hourly and people say they’d use it regularly if there were more buses per day.” Yet another issue is the ‘brilliant’ Metrobus Earlybird service from Bexhill to Gatwick which runs at 1.30 and 3.30am but only along the A27 and A22. “This means you have to drive or take a taxi to somewhere like the Boship roundabout and wait for the bus to come along.”
Barry Marlowe was instrumental in initiating the early morning National Express coach from Eastbourne via Hailsham, Uckfield, Forest Row, East Grinstead and Gatwick up to London, making it possible for people to work a full shift at Gatwick or spend a day in City or West End.
The Surgery is one of a rolling programme aiming to give people the chance to talk to bus managers and council staff responsible for funding services. Barry Marlowe concludes: “Public transport is a vital service and this type of event is the perfect opportunity for people to have their say. With few rail links, buses are essential for Wealden’s communities. Young people need regular reliable services for college, work or to socialise. They are also important for older people and those who do not have a car.”
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