Letter: Bus lanes on A259 would ‘lock in’ benefits

Derrick Coffee

(Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex)

Mayfield Place, Eastbourne

In response to your multiple recent letters on the planned bus lanes, there is evidence which we should heed on their current success on the A259.

Between Newhaven and Brighton a significant reduction in traffic has occurred following their introduction.

Between 2007 and 2017, average daily traffic in both directions fell from 28,000 to 25,000 vehicles per day creating conditions where a better bus service could flourish.

Better services were introduced and in the same period, weekly bus passenger figures on this stretch of the A259 rose from 73,000 to 122,000.

This is an example of the kind of shift that could be achieved between Hastings and Bexhill on the A259.

Traffic flow has decreased on the Bexhill Road but has grown in Hastings and Bexhill overall, and is predicted by the county council to continue growing on the A259 as new developments and major roads are completed: there’s already congestion in Little Common Road.

Now is precisely the time to introduce the bus lanes to ‘lock in’ the benefits of the Link Road and reduce traffic or slow its growth. The much delayed bus lanes should be operating now. They have been ‘leap frogged’ by Queensway Gateway Road and the Bexhill Northern Approach Road which will encourage yet more short car commuting/school run and shopping trips. This will impede bus and rail improvements, and undermine efforts to encourage and deliver healthy walking and cycle infrastructure.

We should by now have an area wide bus/rail pass for Hastings, Bexhill, Battle and Rye, attractive to all and especially the young but we haven’t the level of integration, of bus provision necessary – or new rail stations at Glyne Gap and West Marina – that would give a first class alternative to the private car.

There is an annual invitation from the DfT to bid for a ‘new stations fund’ but I am not aware that any such bid has ever been made by East Sussex County

Council with or without support from Rother and Hastings. How about it? Let’s have all the alternatives!

Perhaps correspondents on this and related matters should be recruited to the Hastings and Rother Transport Action Group rumoured to be formed in early 2018.