Brighton Area Buswatch
Representing Bus Users
April (and early May) 2013 Newsletter
Firstly, a big welcome to new supporters receiving this newsletter for the first time. We’ve had a good response to our publicity campaign on local buses. Several interesting suggestions have been sent in which will be discussed with bus companies.
For March news press here
Sunday bus service to Ditchling Village
From 21 May Metrobus is introducing a new Sunday service on route 271 (Crawley – Burgess Hill – Patcham – Brighton) which will run via Ditchling Village instead of Hassocks on Sundays only. Buses will be timetabled every two hours with a journey time to Ditchling of 30 minutes from Brighton and 45 minutes from Crawley.
This is the first regular Sunday service to Ditchling for many years and it will help visitors and ramblers as well as local residents. Please note that in Ditchling Village buses will stop in West Street, outside the White Horse public house, towards Brighton and towards Crawley. People have asked for this service so please support it if you can. Full timetable is now available on www.metrobus.co.uk
More buses on many routes
Brighton & Hove bus times change from Sunday 21 April with the introduction of summer timetables. Most of the changes are improvements. Here are a few highlights:
· Extra peak hour buses on some of the busiest routes including the 1, 5 & 12/12X.
· More evening buses on route 6 (Brighton Station – Palmeira Square – Hove – Portslade – Downs Park), doubling the late evening frequency to every 15 minutes.
· Evening times on the 28/29 (Brighton – Lewes – Ringmer – Uckfield - Tunbridge Wells) are revised with a regular half hourly frequency and later buses on Sunday evenings.
· The Sunday only 13X (Brighton – Seaford - Beachy Head – Eastbourne) operates on Saturdays too but remains hourly this summer (it was half hourly last year) and timings have changed. Buses will leave Brighton Station at 40 minutes past each hour. The service will be daily from 15 June.
· Unfortunately the 37 is reduced to just one bus an hour between Bristol Estate and Brighton Station. The timetable is co-ordinated with Compass Bus route 37B to provide a half hourly frequency to Kemp Town and Bristol Estate. Most 37s towards Brighton Station will run as 37A via Western Road, Montpelier Road and Seven Dials.
· Service 52 (operated by The Big Lemon) is revised with buses running 15 minutes earlier, departing Brighton Marina at either 50 or 53 minutes past each hour.
Full details are available in the new edition of Bus Times and at www.buses.co.uk
Withdrawal of N73 between Brighton & Crawley
Unfortunately the Saturday night N73 Night Bus from Brighton to Crawley and Three Bridges will be withdrawn after 18/19 May due to low usage. It was primarily introduced to help people connect with all-night trains from Three Bridges to Gatwick Airport and London.
The Big Lemon meets its users.
On 4 April around thirty local bus users attended a public meeting in St Wulfrans Church, Ovingdean, organised by Tom Druitt, Managing Director of The Big Lemon Bus Company. A number of issues were raised including the new 52 timetable from 21 April and calls for the service to be restored to Brighton City Centre.
Tom told the meeting that consideration could be given to extending some peak journeys at the expense of serving the Marina if there was support for this. In the middle of the meeting one person in the audience commended Big Lemon bus drivers which resulted in a spontaneous cheer from everyone present. Wonderful!
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Brighton Area Buswatch is part of Bus Users UK bususers.org
Brighton & Hove and Stagecoach both set to increase fares from 21st April.
“Hey, turn around for bargain fares!”
As hinted last month, many Brighton & Hove Bus Company fares will increase on 21st April. Most cash fares will go up: the short hop and ordinary single fares will go up by 10p, to £1.60 and £2.30 respectively but the Centrefare remains £2. The 'on bus' Saver will go up 20p to £4.60. The shop brought daily scratch off Saver increases a full 10% to £4.40, while the weekly version goes up to £22!
The company is encouraging customers to buy new M tickets which are purchased using a Smartphone App. A One Day Saver with an M ticket is £3.50 and new two and three day Savers are introduced at £6 & £9. The Key’ smartcard will see the daily Saver going up by over 11% to £3.90, and the annual (Key card) Saver going up from £450 to £490.
Brighton & Hove is introducing a new pay monthly ticket, by direct debit. While more expensive than 3 monthly or annual tickets, it is cheaper than a monthly, and you will never need to renew your ticket again. For a full list follow this link.
Fares on Stagecoach (South) buses in Brighton and West Sussex will also be increasing from the same date. Details are not available but we understand most increases are in the region of 3-4%.
News for users of B&H Council Supported buses
There is really good news for regular users of Brighton & Hove Council supported routes 16/66, 37B, 47, 52, 56 & 57. As Key cards cannot be used on these services Brighton & Hove Buses has agreed to sell traditional style Savers for the same price as Key cards for longer period tickets. We recommend you contact Brighton & Hove Buses or One Stop Travel for more information.
Explorer tickets - Stagecoach gets in a muddle!
Explorer tickets are a great idea – a one-day ticket sold on buses that can be used on virtually all bus services in our area. Brighton & Hove Buses began promoting Explorer tickets more widely last year with the introduction of a £10 family ticket and from 21 April B&H drivers will issue £7 Explorer tickets instead of Super Savers for longer journeys. This will encourage people to have a day out by bus, perfect for visitors to the South Downs National Park for example.
Unfortunately Stagecoach (South) which serves Brighton and West Sussex and runs the popular Coastliner 700 service doesn’t agree. It was unable to give us an assurance Explorer tickets would continue to be valid on its buses. The company told us it would lose revenue if passengers buy Explorer tickets on buses operated by other companies, so it no longer mentions them in publicity material. This is odd because Explorer tickets remain valid on Stagecoach buses in East Sussex and Kent. In fact they are prominently advertised on the side of every bus! Brighton Area Buswatch has urged Stagecoach (South) to do the same.
This link provides current Explorer ticket validity, but be warned; it could change at short notice: http://www.stagecoachbus.com/3ExplorerSussex.aspx
Welcome to Martin Harris
Buswatch members who attended our meeting on 10 April had the opportunity to meet Martin Harris, the new Managing Director at Brighton & Hove Buses. Martin will also be taking control of Crawley based Metrobus from 1 July (excluding its red bus operations in London). He explained he wasn’t looking to make major changes, which perhaps isn’t surprising as the company had been well run under Roger French. Martin spent some time talking to members during the interval and took an active interest in our discussions. We are very encouraged by this support.
Good Luck Martin!
This newsletter is edited and produced by Andrew Boag, Chair, Brighton Area Buswatch. We welcome your comments and suggestions. The next issue is due in mid May.
E mail: email@example.com
Phone: 01273 323075
Post: Brighton Area Buswatch, c/o Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG