Pleased to see East Sussex County Council has launched a public consultation on bus services

From: Cllr Christine Bayliss, Leader Labour Group, Rother District Council

Monday, 30th August 2021, 7:14 am

I was very pleased to see that East Sussex County Council have had a change of heart and have launched a public consultation on how bus services can be improved in East Sussex.

The county council are working with local operators to develop a Bus Improvement Plan in response to the Government’s ‘Bus Back Better’ strategy.

When we submitted our ‘Bexhill Better Buses’ report in July, the county council responded that it wasn’t in a position to undertake stakeholder engagement on how local services could be improved and that there were only planning a limited consultation exercise in ‘due course’.

They copied the response to Huw Merriman, our local MP and chair of the influential Transport Select Committee. Like me, Huw was disappointed with the reply, so we joined forces to press East Sussex for proper community engagement pointing out that it’s a mandatory requirement to access the funding.

The change of approach is therefore very welcome. Our data showed that 86% of those responding to the Bexhill Better Buses survey would prefer to use the bus more often – for shopping, visiting friends and relatives and to access jobs. What stops them, is that buses don’t serve the right areas or operate at the right times and this needs to be addressed in the County Council’s plans.

I am therefore urging readers to engage with the county council’s consultation exercise and make their voices heard.

You can access the consultation via new.eastsussex.gov.uk/your-council/consultation.

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