August 2013 Newsletter
£9 Family Saver tickets are available
Last month we reported the new Family Saver M ticket priced at £9
if purchased on a smart phone. The good news is that Brighton & Hove
decided to sell this ticket on-bus for the same price for travel on Brighton
& Hove buses. The Family Explorer ticket which is available
on all local bus operators remains available at £11 on B&H buses,
£10 on Compass Bus, The Sussex Bus or The Big Lemon. Prices for
Explorer tickets bought on Metrobus or Stagecoach buses are likely to
Blue buses return to Brighton!
Our photo shows one of two Brighton & Hove buses in a new blue and
white livery. There has been speculation that these may be part of a new
look, perhaps resurrecting the blue buses operated by Brighton Corporation
from the 1970s onwards. However Albion supporters should recognise the
colours as those of Brighton & Hove Albion. In fact they have been
repainted blue and white as part of a sponsorship deal with the football
club. Vinyls will be applied to the outside soon which will explain all,
but for the time being the first one is running around naked!
(photo: courtesy of David Grimstone)
Some press reports have suggested that Brighton & Hove Buses would
soon carry commercial advertising again. We have been assured that this
is not planned, but more buses could be sponsored by local companies and
Metrobus 30th Anniversary open day
Continuing the theme of blue buses, we would like to promote an event
a little out of our area but likely of interest to transport enthusiasts.
Crawley based Metrobus celebrates its 30th anniversary with an open day
all three of its garages - Crawley, Croydon and Orpington on Saturday
21 September. Full details on www.metrobus.co.uk
Your views on 20mph scheme extension
Brighton & Hove City Council is now consulting on the Phase 2 of
its plan to introduce 20mph zones throughout the city. The first phase
covering central areas of Brighton and Hove came into effect in April
and has met with a mixed response. The impact on buses was small because
buses rarely have the opportunity to exceed 20mph in this area. This is
not case further out where buses often make up time theyve lost
in the City Centre due to congestion.
Minor roads in residential areas are unlikely to be a much of a problem
as buses already go slowly along these, weaving in and out of parked cars
and other obstructions. Some main roads are exempt (remaining 30mph zones)
but busy roads with significant bus flows such as Eastern Road and Portland
Road are included. The entire length of route 5B between Stanford Avenue
and Hollingbury would become 20mph. These roads are of more concern.
It is likely that buses would have to be rescheduled to allow more journey
time, especially at quiet times of day. Journeys would inevitably take
longer which could be frustrating for passengers. The impact is likely
to be greatest in the late evenings and early mornings when road traffic
is light. These are also times when buses are lightly used and bus companies
will find it hard to justify using extra buses running to slower timetables.
The result could be less frequent services or in the worst case, the withdrawal
of services that no longer cover their operating costs.
We urge bus users to think about the implications for buses and respond
to the consultation which closes on 4 October. Brighton Area Buswatch
is formulating its response to the consultation and welcomes views from
members and supporters.
Andrew's newsletter continues in the next column
August 2013 News: continued
Improvements to school buses from 2 September
More September bus service changes
We have been advised of more changes to services from 16 September:
Compass bus is making changes to the timetable for routes 16/66 between
Portslade and Hangleton to improve reliability.
The Sussex Bus is shortening route 33 from 16 September. In Brighton
buses will terminate at The Old Steine and will no longer serve North
Street or Churchill Square. Route 40 will no longer serve Bolnore Village.
- Owing to major roadworks on the A23 and the closure of the Handcross
junction, Metrobus service 273 (Brighton Crawley) will be diverted
via Staplefield between Warninglid (Five Cross Roads) and Handcross.
Buses will serve the Red Lion stop in Handcross
A tale of two cities
Last month I had the opportunity to meet those running other bus user
groups at an event in Birmingham, organised by Bus Users UK. It was good
to talk to other groups and find see how local issues vary around the
country. Many groups were reporting cuts to services and were envious
of the standard of bus service we enjoy.
In Birmingham, the largest UK city outside London, buses are forced to
terminate on the edge of the central area so reaching another part of
the city centre by bus is virtually impossible. Frequent cross city centre
links like those provided by Brighton & Hove routes 1 & 5 simply
dont exist - yet these are Brightons busiest bus services!
Arriving at the partly re-developed New Street station I was faced with
a fair walk to the nearest bus stops. A tram line is being extended but
it wont open until 2015. There is only one all-night bus service
(to the Airport) and very few bus lanes. The bus I took to our meeting
in Selly Oak was old and looked shabby. New bus shelters had been erected
in the city centre but they were tiny and didnt shelter anyone properly.
There were some good points but it was easy to see why bus use was in
I lived in Birmingham briefly in the mid 1980s and I have fond memories
of the city. Then it had a superb bus service and usage was increasing.
I think Birmingham demonstrates how even the best bus services can spiral
into decline. There are various reasons in this case, but it reminds me
why we cannot take our excellent local buses for granted. Brighton Area
Buswatch will do all it can to prevent a Birmingham type situation here.
New buses for Compass services in Lewes
Compass Bus has been awarded two year contracts to operate services for
East Sussex County Council in the Lewes area. These are mainly services
that were formally run by Countryliner which the company took over at
very short notice last October. Also included is route 126 which is partly
operated by Renown Coaches. Compass is buying 7 new single deck buses
for these services.
Next Meeting date
Weve had to change the date of our next members meeting with bus
operators and Brighton & Hove City Council. It will be one week later
than agreed at our July meeting, on Wednesday 16 October in Hove
Town Hall. All future meetings will commence at 5.30pm as we need to vacate
the room by 7.30pm. Meetings are open to all members and supporters but
please let us know in advance if you wish to attend as space is limited.
This newsletter is edited and produced by Andrew Boag, Chair, Brighton
Area Buswatch, with a few minor changes by the Secretary. We
welcome your comments and suggestions. Printed copies of the newsletter
are available from Hove town hall reception.
The next issue is due in mid September.