From: Cllr Matthew Beaver, St Saviours Road, St Leonards
It will come as no surprise that, writing in last week’s Observer, Derrick Coffee representing the Campaign for Better Transport East Sussex is in favour of the Bexhill Road bus lanes – indeed I would have been more surprised if he had not been.
He however tries to justify their existence by comparing them to the bus lanes along the A259 between Peacehaven and Brighton which in all honesty is like comparing an apple with a sofa – frankly ludicrous.
I will explain why:
Firstly, these lanes are over a long stretch of road between these two areas and are continuous along both sides of the road where they have been introduced.
Secondly, they don’t have bus stops positioned along them every 200 metres which the ones on Bexhill Road now seem to have, probably causing a greater environmental damage than before.
Thirdly, they were installed to allow people to travel into Brighton without having to pay the very high car parking charges both on the streets and in the car parks – Churchill Square currently charges £25 per day to park.
Finally, the buses in Brighton through Brighton and Hove Buses run frequently and the real time display boards tell you all the information you need to know when catching one of them.
The bus lanes along Bexhill Road are piecemeal, changing sides at random, taking out valuable car parking places along the road and serving no purpose than to appease the bus company as they were not a requirement of the development of the Link Road.
‘Bus improvements along the A259’ was the wording of the condition and it was ESCC that decided that bus lanes were the answer against the vast majority of residents who have to put up with them on a daily basis along Bexhill Road.
I am very happy to support sensible measures to improve public transport including the introduction of real time display boards along Bexhill Road, though we are told now that only a small number of stops will have these and they will only be introduced after the second and third phases have been implemented.
I am also happy to support sensible measures to improve the road transport system for car users including repairing potholes or resurfacing the whole road were necessary and also trying to improve the flow of traffic at pinch points around Hastings and St Leonards.
The Bexhill Road bus lanes are not the utopian answer to all our problems as Mr Coffee would lead us to believe as many people still need to use their cars for work and for their private lives too.
There is always a place for public transport but these bus lanes need to be scrapped and any further money allocated for them needs to spent sensibly on both improving public transport another way as well as improving the roads too.