Bus service subsidies to be removed

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Bus service subsidies will be removed from a number of services across Hastings and Rother.

County councillors today (TUES) voted unanimously to make the cuts following a 12 week consultation period over the summer.

East Sussex County Council proposed the move in order to save £1.79 million in subsidies it pays to keep bus routes operating.

Across the county 90 of the 101 supported/subsidised services will continue to operate.

Most evening services will continue to run, including those in Hastings.

The biggest impact on Hastings will be the loss of some Sunday services

In Hastings, of 27 subsidised bus services in the town over half will remain the same, six of the routes have been saved by bus operators deciding that they can be run as commercial services.

No services are to be reduced to less than five days.

Six are to become two-hourly services and four Sunday services are to be withdrawn completely.

The Hastings Dial-A-Ride service which is particularly important for people trying to get to the hospital and doctors appointments will operate five days a week.

Real-time bus information will eventually roll out to Hastings but no date was confirmed

The ‘Wheels to Work’ scheme whereby people can get access to motorised bikes and scooters which has been a success in Eastbourne will be rolled out to Hastings, Bexhill and the rest of Rother.

Sarah Owen, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate in Hastings & Rye, led a campaign against any cutbacks.

She said: “We may have not got everything we wanted, but, on the whole, this is a victory for us.

“We must not forget that for those affected by the remaining cuts as this is still a massive impact on their lives. I want those people to know that I will continue to fight for a bus service that serves local people, and not the

bus companies, and look forward to a Labour Government reversing the deregulation that has caused this.

“However, it has been a real honour to be a part of a positive community campaign, which had the majority of people, our businesses and the protection of our most vulnerable parts of the community at its heart - the only shame is that the Conservatives in East Sussex lacked the ability to negotiate harder with the bus companies and apply for extra funding for buses from government.”

County councillor John Hodges, Labour’s county transport spokesperson, spoke at the cabinet and proposed alternatives as to how savings could be made by stripping back departments and cutting out inefficiencies.

He told the cabinet: “The public said no. The full council said no. I implore the cabinet to renegotiate and don’t just cut and slash. Leave our public services intact for those that depend on them.”

In total, in Hastings, 27 services are currently supported. From April, 2015;

All evening services will be retained

No current supported service would be reduced to less than 5 days a week

6 services will change to 2 hourly off peak and maintain current days of operation

Number 7 – Hastings Town Services

Number 24 – Hastings – Church Road-Silverhill

Number 27 - Hastings Town Services

Number 29 – Hastings Town Services

Number 95 – Bexhill – Conquest Hospital

Number 347 – Hastings – Pett

There will be a change to the number of journeys for three services:

Numbers 20, 21 &22 – Ore – Hastings – Hollington

26 – Hastings – Conquest Hospital

342 – Hastings – Rye

Four Evening and Sunday service will be removed:

Hastings – Ore – Conquest Hospital

344/312 – Hastings – Rye – Northiam

349 – Hastings – Hawkhurst

254/304 – Tunbridge Wells - Hawkhurst - Hastings

Six ‘open door’ school services will remain broadly the same (these are services that can be used by any member of the public)

71 – Silverhill – Williams Parker School

72, 74-76 – Hastings to Helenswood School

95 – Bexhill – Conquest Hospital

357/359 – Ore – St Richards College

384 – St Leonards – Robertsbridge College

360-361 – Etchingham/Peasmarsh – Bexhill College

Days and frequency will remain broadly the same for seven services

23b – Hastings - Harley Shute – Conquest

305 – Hastings – Robertsbridge – Hawhurst

340 – Hastings – Tenterden

341 (23/23A) – Hastings – Tenterden

344 – Hastings – Rye

349 – Hastings – Staplecross

B67 – 79 – Battle area Community Bus

There will be just one supported Dial a Ride/Taxi rider service.

155 – Hastings Dial-a-Ride

Following discussions with Stagecoach, six routes will be run commercially from April. They are;

20-22 - Ore to Hollington - Evenings and Sundays (Stagecoach in Hastings)

26 - Hastings to Conquest Hospital - Evenings and Sundays (Stagecoach in Hastings)

340 - Hastings to Tenterden - Full service (Stagecoach in Hastings)

341 - Hastings to Tenterden - Full service (Stagecoach in Hastings)

344 - Hastings to Rye to Northiam - Hastings to Rye section (Stagecoach in Hastings)

20-22 - Ore to Hollington - Evenings and Sundays (Stagecoach in Hastings)

There are currently 15 commercially run services operating in Hastings. From April there will be 21.