Hold on tight - this could be a bumpy ride for county buses

The final decision on the future of Bexhill’s bus services will be taken by the East Sussex County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday December 16.

Members will consider proposed changes to the supported bus network in a move to save £1.88m and will hear the results of public consultation.

The council has been working with bus operators willing to run 23 services as commercial routes.

The cabinet will also consider a recommendation by full council that it rejects all changes to subsidised bus routes.

Meanwhile Bexhill residents are fearful of cuts to the 95 service to the Conquest Hospital and the 96 and 97 town services and there is concern about a 30% rise in fares.

Although opponents were pleased to hear that the full members’ meeting of ESCC had recommended rejection of “disastrous” cuts across the county, there is still another hurdle. The final decision is by the eight members of the ruling cabinet, all of whom appeared to have voted against the motion to continue to fund the bus services.

Sidley’s Cllr Maurice Watson said: “Cutting the 95 bus service in the day in particular will effect the people of Sidley deeply. The Sidley residents without cars, or any form of transport, will have no chance of getting to hospital appointments, or to visit their sick relatives. To reduce the 97 Bexhill town service bus will leave the same Sidley people with a very long wait in the winter weather. Sidley people simply cannot afford to lose these bus services.”

Cllr Watson’s views have been reinforced by several residents from Bell View Court, such as Anthony Wells who said: “I’m 77, have had a stroke and no longer drive. I had to rely in the bus for five months when my late wife had leukaemia. We can’t cut the service.”

Doreen Harmer, who might give up her car in the near future, worries bus cuts would make life very difficult.

Judith Paris commented: “An adequate bus service to the Conquest Hospital is essential. A bus every two hours is not acceptable. Elderly people are encouraged to give up their cars. But how can they be expected to pay for taxis for each visit?”

Richard Wood, manager of the Bishops Garden Retirement Complex, said, ‘These cuts to the bus service will have a substantial impact on many of the 34 residents here.” Details of the reformulated supported bus network at www.eastsussex.gov.uk