Lewes Bus services to be decimated

LATEST NEWS 16/12/2014 THE CABINET DECIDES TO IGNORE THE FULL COUNCIL’S DEMOCRATIC VOTE TO BIN THE BUS CUTS ESCC cabinet says never mind what council members and the public say we are going to cut your buses!

CLICK HERE ESCC’s reaction to the Bus Cuts consultation exercise. CLICK HERE

OFFICIALS TELL COUNCIL CABINET- NEVER MIND THE FULL COUNCIL VOTE, NEVER MIND WHAT THE PEOPLE TOLD US- MAKE ALL THE BUS CUTS!

EAST SUSSEX COUNCIL SENSATIONAL VOTE AGAINST BUS CUTS- BUT THEY MAY STILL HAPPEN

 

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”Love Your Bus campaigners” (from the western part of the county) and “Don’t stop the bus” campaigners (from the eastern part of the county) lobby the full council meeting today.

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Disabled residents of Peacehaven came to the lobby to defend the Peacehaven Taxi bus service which is under threat.

No bus cuts say council members

In a sensational vote at full council today, East Sussex County Councilors voted against bus cuts. They voted for a motion which said:

“This council recommends that the cabinet reject the current proposals to significantly reduce the level of financial support that facilitates a number of bus services that operate to serve everyday life in an acceptable manner across many parts of East Sussex. Council appreciates the support from thousands of ordinary citizens, businesses, and those who through advancing years, infirmity and potential isolation, depend totally upon this level of financial support that allows for the provision of those services now under threat.”</P

Various amendments were proposed which would have diluted or nullified the motion but councillors were having none of it. Lewes representative Ruth O’Keeffe summed up the mood when she said that there was only one motion she could vote for.

Council members spoke, often passionately, about the problems of loneliness and social isolation many of their most vulnerable residents faced. They were critical of the council for not applying for central government money that is available for bus services, and they pointed out that bus usage is rising across the county despite the lack of publicity.

Independent, Labour and 3 out of 4 Ukip council members present voted solidly against the cuts. Once their amendment, which would have simply delayed consideration of the cuts, was defeated, Liberal Democrat members voted against cuts too. Conservative members voted en-bloc for the cuts.

There was disappointment for a delegation of disabled people from Peacehaven. They came to lobby their UKIP council members about the Peacehaven taxibus service, which faces complete closure. But the Love Your bus campaign understands that one council member failed to turn up and the other voted for the cuts. For details contact Cllr Ian Buchanan Phone (home): 01273 584865 Mobile: 07876 878375 and Cllr Phil Howson Phone (home): 01273 587947 Mobile: 07801 692542

CABINET MEETING

 

Love Your Bus spokesperson Chris Smith says:

“With a full council meeting voting against cuts, in any democracy that would be the end of the matter, but East Sussex County Council operates a cabinet system. Final decisions are often taken not by a full council but by a small group of council members- the cabinet. All the cabinet members are conservatives as they are the largest single party, even though they do not have a majority on the council. This is grossly undemocratic. We think the cabinet should be bound by the decision of the full council.”

The cabinet meets on Tuesday 16th December and the big red bus will be there again. The cabinet consists of:

Nick Bennett, Cllr.Nick.Bennett@eastsussex.gov.uk
member for Hellingly East Hoathly and Alfriston (who says he believes in “better transport, better awareness…personal choice, particularly for vulnerable or isolated individuals”)
Bill Bentley, cllr.bill.bentley@eastsussex.gov.uk
member for Hailsham & Herstmonceux (whose duties include services for vulnerable adults including older people, learning disability, physical disability, mental health and safer communities.)
Chris Dowling cllr.chris.dowling@eastsussex.gov.uk
member for Framfield & Horam
David Elkin, cllr.david.elkin@eastsussex.gov.uk
member for Eastbourne Sovereign
Keith Glazier, cllr.keith.glazier@eastsussex.gov.uk
member for Rye and East Rother
Carl Maynard, cllr.carl.maynard@eastsussex.gov.uk
member for Brede Valley & Marsham
Rupert Simmons, cllr.rupert.simmons@eastsussex.gov.uk
member for Heathfield (who says that bus services are very important for Heathfield, particularly for young people)
Sylvia Tidy, cllr.sylvia.tidy@eastsussex.gov.uk
Member for Crowborough (who says that key issues in her area include reducing traffic speed, and stimulating retail activity as there are too many empty shops in the town)

Chris says “None of these council members represents the area round Lewes and I fear that they may try to limit local criticism by saving buses in their area at the expense of places like Lewes and Hastings”

The campaign asks supporters to

1) Contact their cabinet members to ask them to vote against the cuts.
2) Attend the lobbies if they are able to. These will be at the entrance to County Hall, Lewes at 9.20 until 10 am on December 16th

The campaign will let you know how your councillor voted Details will be posted on

http://lewesstopthecuts.wordpress.com/

For more information contact:

LSTC MEDIA OFFICER CHRIS SMITH cs@hbhelp.co.uk, 01273483869 Mobile 07901533876

Lobby of ESCC Full Council Meeting on 2nd & Cabinet on the 16th of December 9.20 at County Hall CLICK HERE

This meeting of the full council has been called because of a petition containing 5000+ signatures against the bus cuts. The vote at the end of this meeting will be advisory only because the constitution of ESCC stipulates that the final decision must be made by the Tory dominated cabinet on the 16th of December. We will be lobbying that meeting too. It is important that we win a moral victory here in order to put the maximum amount of pressure on the cabinet not to implement the cuts.

We wrote to ALL the members of East Sussex County Council on your behalf. Find out what they said (those who replied anyway) CLICK HERE

Grand Bus Rally report with photos, video and audio CLICK HERE

Grand Love Your Bus RALLY

11am Saturday 8th November in Lewes precinct


bus rally front

bus rally back

If you would like to make a donation to our campaigns please do so here:

Make a Donation Button
Chris Smith makes the case against the cuts at our public meeting on the 11th of September

BUS USERS SPEAK OUT ABOUT HOW THE CUTS WILL AFFECT THEM

East Sussex County Council plans to raise bus fares on the services it supports by 30% from 2014 and to cut services in rural areas and suburban estates across the county.Many bus users are extremely worried about how this affects them and are prepared to speak to the media about this. here a just some of their comments:

Service 123 Lewes to Newhaven user:

” not to able to visit friends and family and losing my independence (again!)”

Service 128 user Nevill estate:

 “use for everything”

Service 28 user:

“no buses from Uckfield past 8:55″ (editors note- the latest bus may be earlier than this)

Service: 28/29/123 user:

“I am more concerned for the outer parts of Lewes and the countryside in East Sussex”

Susan Murray Services:  128/9 Nevill estate

“more difficult to get to meetings, appointments in good time”

Deborah Twitchen Chair of TOLD(Tenants District ) Services: 127, 123 and the people I represent use various others  (Landport Estate and other services):

“I live on Landport so we are already cut off enough as it is”

Services:  127, 128, 166, 824, 125

“I’m here for people who pay fares. people are using buses and leaving their cars at home”

Andrew Boag Services:  123, 143 especially:

“I represent Brighton Area Buswatch which is the local group of bus users UK We cover Lewes as well as Brighton. I’ve been interviewed twice by BBC Sussex in recent weeks”

Services: 28 and 29 user

“Personally disability – don’t drive and unable to use train. However, I have considerable concerns about young people sharing a car with a driver who has been drinking (when there are reduced services) Fewer services- increased isolation and lack of social contact. Taxis are too expensive”

Services:  28 and 29 user:

“for work – may have to move if buses are less frequent. I don’t drive and too far to walk. Also if prices go up as I’ve not had a pay rise – money is tight!!!”

Services  28 and 29 user

“Have to use private vehicle. I work shifts and any out of hours (not regular peaks) service will be an issue. As a public sector worker I have had my pay cut in real terms over the past four years”

Services: 318/349/304-5/22 (Hastings user):

“access to friends, recreation, culture”

Services: 125 Alfriston – Lewes

“imprisoned in village – social isolation”

The Lewes Stop the cuts steering group will meet on 1/10/14 to plan further activities.

For more information contact:

LSTC MEDIA OFFICER CHRIS SMITH  cs@hbhelp.co.uk, 01273483869

PACKED MEETING CONDEMNS BUS CUTS

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In a packed meeting in Lewes on 11th September attenders were unanimous in condemning the proposed bus cuts proposed by East Sussex County Council for September.  Individuals spoke about how badly they would be affected and representatives of health and social services organisations talked about problems people would have in accessing health and social services care.  Many people were concerned about the effects on the environment and about increased car use.  There was a general feeling that bus cuts would cost more in knock on costs than they would save.

 

Transport campaigner Chris Smith of Travel Log Lewes was the main speaker.  He told the meeting:

“It seems to me that the government cuts to general funding, bus service operators grant, rural bus subsidy and kickstart are likely to make it more difficult to run those rural and suburban services that are currently threatened.  The government (including Norman Baker who was the coalition’s bus minister for some time) clearly has a lot to answer for.

But we also need to ask why East Sussex County Council has:

- decided to spend £56 million of our money on the Bexhill Hastings link road when this sum would have covered nearly all the cuts it is going to make over the next 3 years in response to government withdrawal of funding.

not planned any Quality Bus contracts or Better Bus agreements in Hastings and other suitable areas.

-Taken no account of the knock on effects of extra cars on the road. Given how vital it is to ease congestion  and pollution (with £22 billion lost to the national economy through congestion, and the air in some Lewes streets borderline unbreathable),

-not allocated a penny of the £800,000 a year  profit being made by the county in charges for parking  to support bus services.  This money represents a substantial proportion of the amount the council wants to save on buses.

-not bid for any of the government money that IS still available.

The council has choices, and it has taken the wrong ones.”

Many participants had ideas for how the campaign should continue, and meeting organisers are working on their next move.

 

Decimation of bus services make sure your voice is heard

tHEY DONT WANT

Screenshot 2014-07-22 13.36.10

Bus

BUS SERVICES UNDER ATTACK 

30% FARE RISE

SERVICES CUT- 

DON’T LET IT HAPPEN

Here is a  poster for you to display in your window
Leaflets to print and give to anyone you know
Live outside Lewes?  leaflet that you can download
Call us on 07722519340

Join the “Love your bus” campaign.

Contact us at: lewesstopthecuts@gmail.com

Post PO box 2660, Lewes, BN7 2W,

Telephone 07722 519340

On July 1st East Sussex Council’s cabinet is likely to rubber stamp a proposal which would start the decimation of  the subsidised bus services in Lewes and East Sussex.  The 28 and 29 run by Brighton buses will not be affected. But almost every other bus service running into Lewes will be cut.

 

Fares Hike

Fares on remaining services will face a huge hike, making them unaffordable for many.  Increases will approach 30% across the board!  This will lead to even less use of what buses remain.

For example, the current fare from Lewes to Newhaven and return is currently £4.80.  A 30% increase takes that to £6.24.   This is almost double the current train fare and makes the car, if you have one, a cheaper option.

You can see that the council are trying to reduce bus passengers so that they can make even further cuts.

 

Subsidy cut

In 2012/3 the councils supported bus services to the tune of just over £2.9 million a year.  It wants to reduce this support to under £700 thousand by April 2015.  (The council has recently spent about £56 million of its (our) money on the Bexhill Hastings link road on top of the money paid by the government)

 

Service cuts

The council will keep many bus services which are used for people to get to and from work and also most journeys that enable students to get to school. (But there may be fewer services than there are now even in the peaks)

All evening and Sunday services subsidised by the council will be withdrawn.

The council is not clear what will happen on Saturdays on routes which will still have a daily service Monday to Friday.  You should not assume that there will still be Saturday services. Where there are Saturday services the frequency will be the same as the off peak services shown below.  There will be no Saturday services to Barcombe, Plumpton or Haywards Heath.  There is already no Saturday service to Hailsham.

Off peak services in the day will be drastically cut.  Here how Lewes town’s bus services would fare outside of normal school and work rush hours

 

28 Lewes to Ringmer                                             No evening services on this section of the route.

121 Lewes-Newick                                                  reduced to every two hours

123 Lewes-Kingston- Newhaven                      reduced to every two hours

125 Lewes- Barcombe- Alfriston                      runs on Mondays and Thursdays only (daily peak service)

127 Landport Service                                            reduced to hourly

128 Nevill Service                                                    reduced to hourly (this frequency probably includes the 129 service)

129 Nevill and Winterbourne service              reduced to every two hours

143 Lewes- Ringmer and Hailsham                    runs Tuesday and Friday only (no service at all on other days)

166 Plumpton and Haywards Hth                       runs on Mondays and Thursdays only (daily peak service)

824 Ditchling and Burgess  Hill                            runs on Tuesday and Friday only (daily peak service)

A number of public services serving Ringmer college from the east will become school only services, which will mean an increase in travel costs of £5.50 per week per student.

 

There are similar cuts right across the county.

As the county admits, shoppers and those with medical appointments will be worst affected.  That’s bad news for shopkeepers. The council hopes more people will shop on line instead of using local shops.

But it is bad news for shift or part time workers too, and the council admits that some people may lose their jobs  (on top of the bus drivers who will also lose theirs)

Also affected will be pensioners, who face further isolation, and young people who want to visit their friends.

The council believes that some services, such as libraries, will be affected.  As you probably know, rural libraries are being cut, so more people need to travel.

Areas like Chailey, Newick, Laughton and Kingston will become no go areas where it is impossible to live without a car, or more than one car.  And, of course, the number of cars trying to drive and park in Lewes will rise.

The policies take no account of environmental concerns and take no account of the extra costs of more traffic, pollution or social isolation.

20% of households in Lewes district do not have access to a car.  Even in those households that have a car, household members may be stranded at home if one member must take the car, for example to get to work.

The council has the power to use revenues from car parking schemes to subsidise bus services, but has not promised to do so.

What COULD the council do?

  • It could commit itself to not wasting money on road schemes
  • It could actually publicise the bus services to ensure more people use them instead of keeping them secret.
  • It could generate more money from parking schemes and use this to pay for buses.
  • It could adopt the system used in London and being tried out in Newcastle, where companies have to tender to run the profitable and the unprofitable services as a package.  At the moment the commercial companies trouser the profit on the profitable routes and the taxpayer subsidises the others. Under the alternative system the profitable routes help subsidise the loss making ones.

When would this happen?

These cuts would happen in April 2015- just 8 months away

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Tell everyone who you know who might be affected anywhere in East Sussex.
  •  Display a poster in your window.  You can download one here
  •   Print off some leaflets to give to anyone you know  If you live in Lewes there is a leaflet that you can download here  If you live outside Lewes there is a leaflet that you can download here
  • Raise the issue at any organisation or community group you are part of.
  • Phone East Sussex County Council on 0345 60 80 194 to find out exactly how you will be affected.  Ask them how you can take part in the consultation that started on 7th July.
  • Tell your county council member that you want them to oppose the cuts at every opportunity.
  • Contact local papers and radio stations to tell them how you will be affected. The address of the Sussex Express is  Sussex Express,  Springfield House,  Springfield Road,   Horsham  RH12 2RG
  • Come to our public meeting  11th September 7-8pm Westgate Chapel, 92a High Street, Lewes, BN7 1XH
  • Sign up for our mailing list on the right hand side of this page to get information about what is going on.

 

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

We are just starting to plan the fight back.  Already we have organised the following activities:

  • We have contacted parish councils, voluntary organisations and trade unions throughout the county alerting them to what is going on
  • We have created a number of leaflets and flyers publicising the campaign
  • We are organising a public meeting  11th September 7-8pm Westgate Chapel, 92a High Street, Lewes, BN7 1XH

Other activities are planned.  Sign up for our mailing list on the right hand side of this page to get more information.

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LATEST INFORMATION ON THE ESCC ‘CONSULTATION EXERCISE’

Email received from Madeline Harmer business transport officer for ESCC by LSTC on
“Paper copies of the survey are available in all libraries and will shortly be available on supported buses throughout East Sussex. Residents can request a paper copy of the survey by calling us on 0345 60 80 194, and in this month’s “Your County” there will be information regarding the consultation which will include this telephone number.

In addition all key stakeholders, including parish and district councils, charities, children centres, religious communities, and social groups have received a link to the online version of the survey, and a note informing them that they can request paper versions of the survey by calling us on 0345 60 80 194.”

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8 Responses to “Lewes Bus services to be decimated”

  1. bill February 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    Any service that schools have to buy into will be under threat. Schools Library service must be in the fring line. Prisons are legally required to maintain a library. Schools are not.

  2. Richard Partridge July 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    As chair of Lewes and District Seniors Forum, I am including a piece in a letter to our 400 members next week. My own observation is that the increasing number of Ringmer people who go by bus to Brighton for evenings at theatre/cinema/concerts will not get home – the last bus leaves Brighton at 19 30 instead of 23 00…! It takes a lot of homework to unravel this from the consultation document – many people assume the 28/29 service is totally commercial so would not expect ANY cuts in those services and therefore may assume they are unaffected by the proposals…not so. And this after the City Council have spent money on massive bus lane improvements and increased parking charges…..!

    • lewesstopthecuts July 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      Thanks Richard. Keep spreading the word. We have lots of A5 flyers, if you would like some, let us know. Best wishes, Sarah

  3. Jackie gilligan September 1, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    Any cuts in any Bus service is in my opinion as bad as a criminal act in this day and age.

    We need more buses on more routes and at more flexible times. We cannot get out of our cars if we can’t have confidence that buses will run on time and all the time.

    It is total madness to cut the services when they don’t already cover enough.
    My daughter has to use the buses to be able to work.
    I need to use the buses to travel around as I don’t and should not use my car for local journey’s.

    I work in Lewes, my sister has a small business in Lewes and her staff have to travel in from all the surrounding towns and villages, most choose to use the bus ans parking is so expensive.

  4. John H. Brogden October 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Wishing you well in your campaign against cuts in bus services.

  5. Eccy de Jonge November 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    Bus fares in East Sussex are already extremely expensive and overpriced £4.80 return as compared to £2.80 return anywhere in London. I am only a visitor to East Sussex and find the bus fares extortionate – sorting out my mother’s property (my mother was killed on the South Coast Rd in November 2013) I try to avoid trips out because of the price – for those on a low income in East Sussex it must be extremely isolating – not withstanding cuts to the service. In my experience of ESCC this sounds fairly typical of their non caring attitude to the public.

  6. barry oconnell November 10, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    a regular bus service should be an essential service as electricity gas and water. this is 2014 not 1814 or 1914 .if the presant regime cant supply it then make way for a party that can.

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