Brighton Area Buswatch
Representing Bus Users
December '13 Newsletter
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December 2013 News: continued
Free parking on Small Business Day - More extra bus users than cars!
The free car parking promotion at five council run car parks began on Saturday 7 December. This coincided with Small Business Day, a national event which aims to promote small businesses. Brighton & Hove Buses joined in by offering free travel to accompanied under 16s and to young people with Bus ID cards. The Big Lemon bus company went for a more quirky approach and offered free travel to anyone showing a lemon to the bus driver!
According to The Argus, Small Business Day was very successful for local businesses. Overall traffic levels appeared to be similar to a normal Saturday in December. Our observations showed empty spaces in most of the free car parks, with only Trafalgar Street being full for most of the day. These findings have since been confirmed by data supplied by the City Council.
Brighton & Hove Buses were very busy and carried 5% more passengers than on the same Saturday last year, including an estimated 2,000 under 16s travelling free. So perhaps buses were the real success story that day. Small businesses please take note!
East Sussex County Council looks to cut transport budget
Concessionary Pass holders living in East Sussex could find they cannot use their passes before 09:30 instead of 09:00 as the County Council considers ways of saving £2.2million from its transport budget over the next three years.
Improving facilities for older bus users
Last month I went along to a workshop with the Brighton & Hove Age Friendly Steering Group. This considered issues related to transport and getting out and about in Brighton & Hove for older people. I was able to mention several improvements to bus facilities including plans for new bus shelters and more real time signs at bus stops. Seating inside shelters was considered very important and people were reassured to know this would continue to be provided. A campaign to allow more crossing times at pedestrian crossings was supported and there were calls for a regular bus service along the seafront. The free bus pass was a boon because it enabled people to get out more, visiting friends and going shopping frequently to avoid having to carry heavy bags.
One of the outcomes of the workshop was that Brighton Area Buswatch needs to improve links with older peoples groups and this will be one of our aims in 2014. We have also been in touch with disability groups. We welcome newcomers to this newsletter who signed up at the meeting.
Special offer on smartphone tickets
Brighton & Hove Buses is offering a seven day £9.99 M ticket for use on routes 23, 24, 25, 28 & 29 between Falmer (Coldean Lane on the 24) and Churchill Square between 14 December and 5 January. This is a saving of £2.51 on normal ticket price. The promotion is designed to encourage more people to try buses along Lewes Road during the Christmas and New Year period.
Our bus companies win awards
Several of our local bus companies have won awards recently. Last month Crawley based Metrobus which operates in our area won a prestigious award for best depot at the annual Bus Industry Awards in London. Compass Bus was nominated for best small bus operator at the same ceremony and was highly commended, while Brighton & Hove Buses was commended for its Police Liaison Officer initiative which has reduced crime and anti-social behaviour on local buses.
The Big Lemon bus company has also won an award recently, at the Sussex Business Awards for best Social Enterprise of the year.
These awards have been won against tough competition and demonstrate how our local bus companies excel nationally. Our buses may not be perfect but they are way above average and we congratulate all those involved.
Next Meeting date
Our next meeting with bus operators and Brighton & Hove City Council is on Wednesday 15 January 2014 at 5.30pm in Hove Town Hall. 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. 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 January 2014.
Seasonal Greetings to all our readers and supporters