Bus fares need to come down


From: Elizabeth Jones, Stonefield Road, Hastings

Your correspondent Derrick Coffee pointed out that the installation of bus lanes on the A259 to Brighton resulted in a reduction in traffic of 3,000 vehicles a day (Hastings Observer, August 30).

In July, I got on a 12X bus in Brighton and shortly before 10 to five, it got into a long traffic jam on the way to Rottingdean and for quite a while, it went very slowly. Suddenly it sped up and sailed past a very long line of stationary cars as it had got into a bus lane. Almost all the seats on the upper deck were occupied and lots of other buses go from Brighton to Rottingdean. I wonder how long the traffic jam would have been if there had been no bus lanes.

As a result of bus lanes, many people will be able to walk to and from buses before and after work and still get home earlier than they would have done if there had been no bus lanes and they had gone to work by car.

In Kent, there are some very luxurious buses called Stagecoach Gold buses. If we had some more of those, big bus fare subsidies and park and ride and bus lanes wherever it is possible, congestion would fall a lot. In some cases, homelessness would be prevented as a result of low fares and more people would have satisfactory housing, adequate heating and enough food. Last year, I heard on the radio that 9-11% of people who drove were in economic debt as a result of car ownership. If we had a lot more buses, which we would have if they were much cheaper, many more people would be able to go to work by bus than is now the case. I heard that a woman needed a car to get to work and had no heating in her home as she couldn’t afford it.

I hope Cllr Beaver and some of schoolchildren who demand action on the climate emergency will write to Amber Rudd and ask for lots of funding from central government for big bus fare subsidies and other measures to get people to use buses instead of cars. Telling people to walk and cycle and buy an electric car and use public transport is helpful but it’s not enough. Bus fares keep rising a lot while motoring costs only rise a bit and the population keeps rising.