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Andrew Boag's
February 2014
Buswatch News

For PDF version- click here

A new bus network for Queens Park
- the full story

This month we devote most of Buswatch News to explain the changes affecting bus routes serving Queens Park which are due to be introduced with the summer timetables on 13 April. These are the most radical changes to bus services in Brighton & Hove for many years and they will have an impact in many other parts of the city too.

The main changes affect routes 81/81A/81B/81C which will be withdrawn. They are replaced by new routes 18 & 20 and changes to existing route 21.

New route 18 (number 81 reversed!) is a one-way circular service known as 'Queens Park Shuttle' replacing much of route 81 and forming the main service between Churchill Square and Queens Park:
Churchill Square (Imperial Arcade, outside Pizza Hut) - North Street - St James's Street - Queens Park Road - The Pepper Pot - Queens Park Terrace - Freshfield Road - Down Terrace - Queens Park Junction - Elm Grove - Open Market - London Road shops - Whitecross Street - Frederick Place (for Brighton Station) - Upper Gloucester Road - Buckingham Road - Dyke Road - Imperial Arcade. Also serves Brighton Station, Stop D (Hotel Ibis) after 7pm.

New route 20 replaces existing route 81B and provides another one-way circular service through Queens Park, in the opposite direction to new route 18:
Hove Town Hall - Furze Hill - Churchill Square - North Street - Old Steine - London Road shops - Elm Grove - Queens Park Junction - Down Terrace - Freshfield Road - Queens Park Terrace - The Pepper Pot - Queens Park Road - Edward Street - Old Steine - Churchill Square - Western Road - Palmeira Square - Hove Town Hall.

Existing route 21 currently Brighton Station (rear) - London Road - Elm Grove - Manor Hill - Whitehawk - Brighton Marina) is revamped and extended to Churchill Square and Goldstone Valley to replace route 81. It is also re-routed to serve Queens Park and will no longer use Vines Cross Road in Whitehawk:
Goldstone Valley - Hove Station - Hove Town Hall - Palmeira Square - Churchill Square - North Street - Old Steine - London Road - Elm Grove - Queens Park Junction - The Pepper Pot - Queens Park Terrace - Freshfield Road - Manor Hill - Whitehawk Way - Swanborough Drive - Wilson Avenue - Brighton Marina. Returns the same way.

Some routes and service numbers are different from those shown in the consultation leaflet distributed in Queens Park, following comments received. To avoid confusion only the existing and finally agreed service numbers are used here. Unfortunately there is insufficient space for maps to be shown but are available on the Brighton & Hove Buses website

Routes 23 & 37B which also serve Queens Park are unchanged, except that the Sunday service on route 23 is reduced from every 30 minutes to hourly and the Sunday evening service is withdrawn.

Route 38 will provide the daytime service between Brighton Station (rear) and Meadowview via London Road and Lewes Road. In the evenings route 38 is extended to North Street via the front of Brighton Station and Queens Road.


Notes on frequencies:

# Route 20 runs until 9.30pm London Road - Queens Park - Churchill Square and Brighton Station. No evening or Sunday service to Western Road, Hove Town Hall or Furze Hill.

* Route 21 every 15 minutes Churchill Square - Brighton Marina mornings and early afternoons. Every 30 minutes Goldstone Valley - Brighton Marina throughout the daytime period.

Route 21A is the same as route 21 but runs via Furze Hill in both directions replacing existing Sunday only route 81C. Route 21B runs as now on Sunday evenings.

Andrew's newsletter continues in the next column



February 2014 Buswatch News: continued


A new bus network for Queens Park continued

Why change the 81?
A lot of people have asked this. The existing 81 is at the bottom of the league table for profitability and Brighton & Hove Buses says it wants to improve this situation. The existing route network is complicated with different services in the evenings and Sundays which is confusing to new users. It has also suffered from unreliability at busy times. The Queens Park area is densely populated and hilly so it should be good territory for a more frequent bus service. Being relatively close to the City Centre journey times are short and it was felt that a circular service could be attractive. Older residents will remember the 41 & 42 Circulars that served Queens Park for many years.

Why can't the 18 Shuttle run both ways?
Brighton & Hove Buses wanted the circular service to run as frequently as possible. Running it both ways would have doubled the cost because it would require twice as many buses and twice as many drivers. There are other services with successful one-way loops such as route 48 in Lower Bevendean and route 50 in Hollingdean.

Following comments received from Queens Park residents, B&H Buses compromised with the new 18 running every 12 minutes (instead of every 10 minutes as originally planned). In addition new route 20 runs in the opposite direction along Queens Park Road, every 30 minutes.

Consultation by Brighton & Hove Buses
Consultation leaflets were distributed to households in the Queens Park area at the end of January seeking views on the new services. The consultation was also available on the Brighton & Hove Buses website and there was an on-line survey too. The closing date for responses was 7 February.

The public meeting
The Queens Park and Hanover Local Action Teams arranged a public meeting on Monday 10 February. Over 200 people attended the meeting in St Luke's Church to express their opinions. The majority of those who spoke were opposed to the changes and the most common criticisms were:

  • Journeys towards the City Centre would take longer on the one-way Shuttle
  • The consultation should have been carried out sooner and allowed more time.
  • The changes are unnecessary
  • Bus stops will be less convenient, especially at The Pepper Pot
  • Some called for the changes to be deferred until the autumn.

In response Mike Best, Operations Director for Brighton & Hove Buses explained the main advantages of the new network:

  • Up to 11 buses an hour between Queens Park and Churchill Square (currently 5).
    An all day service to Brighton Station and North Laine.
  • Buses will no longer terminate at Open Market, one stop short of the shops
  • Vastly improved evening services with the 18 Shuttle running every 15 minutes
  • Journey times between The Pepper Pot and Churchill Square would be similar via Elm Grove and London Road or via Edward Street/St James's Street.

He added that changes need to start in April to improve the financial position on these services, ahead of the busy summer months. This date has now been confirmed.

Prior to the final decision a number of changes were made in response to consultation leaflet and other feedback. These include extending the 20 beyond Old Steine to serve Churchill Square, Western Road shops, Hove Town Hall and Furze Hill. The 20 will now run until mid evening every day to provide a direct service from Queens Park Road towards Edward Street and Old Steine.


Other News: Route 48
will continue to serve Churchill Square

Another change planned for April involved the 48 from Brighton Station to Lower Bevendean. Following the end of the Governments 'Better Bus Area' funding, Brighton & Hove Buses told us it needed to make savings. It proposed this service would run direct from Queens Road, Clock Tower to North Street without serving Churchill Square. Some people weren't happy about this and the bus company has now agreed to continue to serve Churchill square, but the daytime frequency will be reduced from every 12 minutes to every 15 minutes.


Plusbus fares increases

The daily Plusbus fare has increased from £3 to £3.30. The increase applies to tickets purchased for travel to stations in the Brighton & Hove area and to tickets purchased on buses at Brighton Station.


Smartcard progress

Following our report last month, we have been informed that the Department for Transport has rejected a plea to help fund the installation of smartcard technology to smaller bus operators in our area. The good news is that other options are being explored and all bus companies plus Brighton & Hove City council have indicated a willingness to make a contribution. If the figures add up this would enable Key cards to be valid on all buses supported by Brighton & Hove City Council, provided by Compass Bus or The Big Lemon. We will keep pressing for this.


Low emission zone starts on 1 January 2015

Low emission zone starts on 1 January 2015
Last month we mistakenly reported that the Low Emission Zone would begin on 1 April. In fact it starts three months earlier on 1 January 2015. Apologies for this error.


And finally..

.You may have noticed a few changes this month. We welcome new readers with a fresh look for our newsletter and a new name - Buswatch News. Bus Users UK has introduced a new logo and we are their local group, so we are using this too. There was little space left for a photo so I'm afraid you're stuck with one of me this month.

All Brighton & Hove City Councillors and MPs in our area now receive Buswatch News to keep them informed. If you don't want to receive it you can unsubscribe at It will be your loss if a bus issue arises in your area and you don't know about it!


Buswatch News is written and produced by Andrew Boag, Chair, Brighton Area Buswatch. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Printed copies of this newsletter are available from Hove town hall reception.

The next issue is due in mid March 2014.

Andrew is contactable by email at