Residents attending a packed meeting in Lewes were unanimous in condemning bus cuts proposed by East Sussex County Council.
At the meeting, staged by Lewes Stop the Cuts, on September 11, individuals spoke about how badly they would be affected if the cuts went ahead.
Representatives of health and social services organisations talked about problems people would have in accessing health and social services care.
Many people were concerned about the effects on the environment and about increased car use.
There was a general feeling that bus cuts would cost more in knock-on costs than they would save.
Transport campaigner Chris Smith, of Travel Log Lewes, was the main speaker.
He told the meeting: “It seems to me that the government cuts to general funding, bus service operators grant, rural bus subsidy and kickstart are likely to make it more difficult to run those rural and suburban services that are currently threatened.
“The government (including Norman Baker who was the coalition’s bus minister for some time) clearly has a lot to answer for.
“But we also need to ask why East Sussex County Council has:
*decided to spend £56 million of our money on the Bexhill Hastings link road when this sum would have covered nearly all the cuts it is going to make over the next 3 years in response to government withdrawal of funding;
*not planned any Quality Bus contracts or Better Bus agreements in Hastings and other suitable areas;
*taken no account of the knock-on effects of extra cars on the road. Given how vital it is to ease congestion and pollution (with £22 billion lost to the national economy through congestion, and the air in some Lewes streets borderline unbreathable);
*not allocated a penny of the £800,000 a year profit being made by the county in charges for parking to support bus services. This money represents a substantial proportion of the amount the council wants to save on buses;
*not bid for any of the government money that IS still available.
“The council has choices, and it has taken the wrong ones.”
Many participants had ideas for how the campaign should continue, and meeting organisers are working on their next move.
More at: http://lewesstopthecuts.wordpress.com/