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Andrew Boag's
January '14 Newsletter

Big bus service improvements planned from April 2014

  • Improved Coast Road services
  • A new bus network for Queens Park

Over the past few months Andrew has been working closely with Brighton & Hove Buses to plan improvements to bus services in 2014. he has concentrated on two main groups of services, Coaster route 12 between Brighton & Eastbourne and the 81 group of routes to Queens Park. These services have suffered from reliability problems in recent times and from public criticism.

The current peak hour only 12X service will operate through the day every 30 minutes. This will provide a new limited stop service between Brighton & Eastbourne on top of the 10 minute service on the 12 & 12A. The entire timetable has been re-cast to improve reliability. This should improve spacing between buses and make it easier for passengers to get on the first bus at busy times.

Queens Park services are completely revamped, with the 81/81A/81B/81C replaced by a new daily network. The main service will be a one way circular 20, the 'Queens Park Shuttle'. This will run every 10 minutes from Queens Park to Elm Grove, London Road Shops, Brighton Station and Churchill Square, returning via North Street and St James's Street. In the evenings there will be a 15 minute service until just after midnight, doubling the current evening frequency. There will also be new early morning journeys for commuters and a better Sunday service. At Churchill Square buses will stop outside Pizza Hut in Dyke Road, avoiding the congested stops in Western Road. During the day there will usually be a Shuttle bus waiting in Dyke Road for passengers to board.

Route 21 will be completely revised to run between Goldstone Valley and Brighton Marina via Hove, Churchill Square, London Road, Queens Park, Manor Hill & Whitehawk. Some buses will run via Furze Hill as 21A. The main service will run every half hour with extra buses from Old Steine to either Brighton Marina or Queens Park Terrace. This provides a 15 minute frequency towards Elm Grove and Queens Park for most of the day.

While there will be some people who lose out from the new network we are confident most will benefit. There will be an all day service from Queens Park to Brighton Station and buses will no longer finish at Open Market, one stop short the shops. We hope the Queens Park Shuttle will attract more passengers, enabling further improvements in the future. Simplified, high frequency services running every 10 minutes have proved to be highly successful in Brighton and elsewhere.

Other improvements planned by Brighton & Hove Buses include more buses to Uckfield on route 29 during the middle of the day and a better frequency for route 27 on Sundays. There will also be minor timetable changes to many services. Unfortunately the afternoon peak hour 55 service from Old Steine to Old Shoreham Road and Mile Oak will be reduced.

We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with Brighton & Hove Buses. They have been very keen to listen and take on board suggestions. This opportunity is not exclusive to Brighton Area Buswatch, the company actively encourages people to contact them with ideas.


New seafront bus service this summer?

Brighton & Hove Buses is considering running a heritage bus service between Brighton Station and the seafront during the summer using its preserved Routemaster bus. Many people have requested a seafront service and older residents will remember the open top 17 service which ran between Rottingdean and Hove Lagoon for many years. We will provide further details when we have them. Our picture shows the ex London Routemaster at Isfield during a special trip over route 29 to Tunbridge Wells in 2010.

Andrew's newsletter continues in the next column


January 2014 News: continued


New 'all operator' bus ticket needed

Brighton Area Buswatch is pressing for a new smartcard which will allow bus users use one ticket, on all local buses, similar to the much admired Oyster card in London. The technology to do this is now available. Ideally it should also be available on local rail services. We understand there is currently a funding issue with extending smartcard technology. While this is sorted it ought to be possible to launch it as a paper ticket. There are now six bus operators in the Brighton & Hove area and it should be possible to use any bus without paying separately for each journey.

The images above demonstrate some of the multi-operator tickets already in use around the country. The West Midlands Swift card is currently being rolled out across the region on buses, trains and trams, while the Oxford SmartZone card is already valid on most local bus services. The Nottingham Kangaroo ticket is a paper ticket covering travel on all buses, trams, local rail and allows free cycle hire within the city. Our area used to lead the way on new tickets but now we seem to be falling behind other parts of the country.

We understand Brighton & Hove City Council has agreed to act as an independent mediator to facilitate the introduction of multi-operator tickets. Individual bus companies cannot do this alone because they are prevented from discussing fares by competition legislation. We urge Brighton & Hove City Council to make progress on this so local bus users can benefit soon. Brighton Area Buswatch has offered to do anything we can to. It should be a priority for 2014.

Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for Brighton City Centre

Brighton & Hove City Council is to implement a low emission zone for buses using the North Street and Western Road bus corridor between Old Steine and Palmeira Square. The effect will be to restrict the use of these roads to buses meeting the Euro 5 emissions criteria from April 2015. Vehicle emissions in North Street currently exceed EU targets and the City Council could be fined if no action is taken. Similar LEZs have been introduced in London and Oxford.

Brighton & Hove Buses currently has 100 Euro 5 compliant buses out of its fleet of 280 and has received government grants to modify 50 existing buses to meet the standard. With around 20 new buses expected this year that leaves a shortfall of around 110. Of these around half meet Euro 4 standards which are just short of current requirements, but others are older. Stagecoach and Compass Bus are in a better position as most vehicles are already complaint. However buses on route 17 (Brighton - Horsham) are generally older. Metrobus and will need to use newer vehicles on routes serving the LEZ. The Big Lemon service 52 will be exempt because only a small number of journeys a day will enter the zone. Otherwise Exemptions can be granted where there is a plan to replace vehicles within a given timescale. Without an agreed exemption some services would have to be curtailed at Old Steine or diverted via the seafront.

Meeting News

Our meeting on 15 January was well attended with all seats taken. A new format allowed more time for questions which led to lively discussions on several issues. Sadly missing was one of our longest serving members, Dorothy King who passed away recently. Dorothy was a keen supporter who often raised funds for us and Bus Users UK. She will be sorely missed.

Our next meeting with bus operators and Brighton & Hove City Council is on Wednesday 9 April at 5.30pm in Hove Town Hall. Meetings are open to all members, but supporters 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 February 2014.

Andrew is contactable by email at