Bus service changes on the cards from next month

The 100 bus in Winchelsea
The 100 bus in Winchelsea

Changes to bus services in 1066 Country come into force next month.

While Sunday evening journeys in Hastings will be reduced, other routes will be extended as of April 26.

We are pleased that we have also been able to maintain several important transport links by extending and rerouting some of our existing services

Philip Norwell, managing director of Stagecoach in East Sussex

The move by Stagecoach comes following East Sussex County Council’s (ESCC) decision last December to cut bus subsidies from a number of services across Hastings and Rother in order to save the authority £1.79 million.

Stagecoach said it will be able to run buses from Tenterden to Hastings and from Rye to Hastings, through Fairlight.

The company is extending its route 2, which currently runs from Ashford to Tenterden, on to Northiam and Hastings hourly throughout the day, replacing threatened routes 340 and 341.

The coastal ‘Wave’ route linking Dover, Folkestone, Romney Marsh and Camber to Rye and Hastings is set to be doubled in frequency to half hourly throughout the day. The extra journeys will serve Fairlight between Rye and Hastings to replace council supported route 344.

The Rye to Hastings route through Fairlight will be numbered 101, running hourly during the week and two hourly on Sundays. The original Rye to Hastings route via Icklesham will be numbered 100.

Within Hastings, Wave 100/101 buses will continue running to Bohemia Road and Silverhill with most extended to the Conquest Hospital. Route 101 will serve Sedlescombe Road North rather than Harrow Lane. From the same date, Sunday evening journeys on the Hastings Arrows town routes 20, 21, 22 will be slightly reduced. But there will be no reduction on Monday to Saturday evenings. Route 24 will continue to operate, although the last journeys in each direction will be withdrawn. Stagecoach will continue to run routes 7, 27, 29, and 347 under contract to ESCC, although the number of journeys will be reduced. The council will also continue to fund the Bank Holiday service on routes 254 (Hawkhurst to Tunbridge Wells), 304/5 (Hastings to Hawkhurst via Battle and Robertsbridge) and 349 (Hastings to Hawkhurst via Sedlescombe and Bodiam) although the Sunday service will be withdrawn.

Philip Norwell, managing director of Stagecoach in East Sussex, said: “As 95% of our routes already operate on a commercial basis with subsidies generally only received for certain non-viable evening and Sunday journeys, we would like to reassure customers that most of our services have been unaffected. We are pleased that we have also been able to maintain several important transport links by extending and rerouting some of our existing services, which will hopefully be a sustainable solution.”

Fares will increase on these routes, with Stagecoach standard Megarider and Dayrider products replacing the current council weekly tickets.

Karl Taylor, the county council’s assistant director of operations, said: “We have always said that while the financial pressures we’re facing mean we do need to make changes to the supported bus network, we’d try and reduce the impact on passengers where possible. We very much welcome the intervention of Stagecoach and its commitment to continue this service as a commercial operation.”

New timetables and route maps will be available online at stagecoachbus.com/eastsussex in early April.