A NEW Year resolution for those working for the regeneration of Hastings and St Leonards: put pressure on Stagecoach to provide better buses.
Stagecoach make huge profits, but its owners are too stingy to plough them back into their business.
There is urgent need for money to be invested in new vehicles, and to get rid of the ancient juggernauts used on routes 23, 24, 26, 26A, 98 and 99.
Buses without low floors are virtually unusable by people with pushchairs, shopping trolleys or gammy legs - and in most English towns and cities they disappeared years ago.
By retaining them Stagecoach is taking advantage of the most vulnerable people in our society, who are also least likely to be in a position to protest.
The other problem with these antiquated buses is that they continually break down and have to be taken out of service, leading to sudden cancellations. These appear to occur most frequently on route 26 to the Conquest, sometimes causing people to miss hospital appointments.
But the most serious one recently was on route 99 on Sunday, when there is only an hourly service - and, since it was the last bus of the day, intending passengers were left stranded.
Why is it that Brighton and Hove forge ahead, while Hastings and St Leonards lag behind?
Mainly because the city has a properly integrated public transport system, with comfortable new buses that almost always run to time.
Bus routes are to communities what arteries are to bodies: if functioning properly all is well, but if not, they sicken and die.
JEREMY and ROSEMARY GORING
West Hill Road