Council steps in to save bus services

East Sussex County Council has stepped in to supply replacement bus services for Bexhillians affected by cuts made by Renown Transport Services.

Renown made the decision to stop running a number of routes as of December 28, 2013, affecting a number of services in the Bexhill area.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) said despite a limited budget they have set up alternative arrangements as far as possible but there some reductions in services are inevitable.

An ESCC county spokesman said: “There will be some changes to the current service, as the costs of replacing all the journeys would be significantly more than the council’s limited budget.”

“We have tried to cater for as many existing service users as possible as well as taking into account the views of individuals and organisations who have contacted us.”

The new arrangements include service 320: Upper Barnhorn - Little Common – Cooden – Bexhill High School – Ninfield – Ashburnham – Battle, Claverham Community College, and number 95: Little Common (Cowdray Park) – Bexhill – Sidley – Ninfield – Catsfield – Battle – Conquest Hospital – St Leonards Sainsbury’s. The afternoon 95 journey from Bexhill High School at 1713 on Mondays to Thursdays during school term will be subject to change or withdrawal early in the New Year due to very low numbers of pupils using the journey.

Renown will continue to provide both these services until at least the end of July 2014 which ESCC says will allow time to investigate a better value solution reflecting the needs of those using the services. “In the meantime the timetables will be the same as the existing ones apart from a possible change to afternoon journeys on Mondays to Thursdays from Bexhill High School. A repeated view expressed is that it would be more cost-effective to run smaller vehicles. We allowed potential operators, including community transport providers, to quote on the basis of running smaller buses where these would be sufficient for the number of passengers travelling. We found operators that offered larger vehicles also submitted the lowest prices as this gives them the flexibility to use the same buses on busier services too.”