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May 2013 Newsletter

New bus lanes for Edward Street?

Brighton & Hove City Council is consulting on plans for new bus and cycle lanes in Edward Street and a short stretch of Eastern Road. The aim is to provide better facilities for bus passengers and cyclists. The traffic lights at the junction of Eastern Road, Upper Rock Gardens and Egremont Place would be upgraded to detect approaching buses and give them priority. Leaflets are being delivered to local residents. The consultation closes on Tuesday 25 June. You can also have your say on


Explorer ticket update

Last month we highlighted the different prices and validity of Explorer day tickets on Stagecoach buses in our area. Our left photo taken in Eastbourne shows how Explorer tickets are promoted on Stagecoach buses in East Sussex and cost just £6. The Stagecoach website for East Sussex makes it clear that these tickets are valid on all Stagecoach buses including those in West Sussex and Hampshire, plus buses operated by Brighton & Hove, Arriva Southern Counties and Metrobus. Unfortunately the Stagecoach South website covering West Sussex and Brighton makes no mention of Explorer tickets at all. Instead buses carry adverts for Dayrider Gold tickets. These are only valid on Stagecoach buses yet cost a whopping £8.20!
We hope Stagecoach South will soon see sense and join the Explorer scheme.

We welcome your experience of using Explorer tickets which are now issued in place of Super Savers on Brighton & Hove buses. With summer approaching don't forget that family Explorer tickets cost just £10 for two adults and three children on most buses. For those travelling without children, the family ticket is cheaper than buying two adult Explorer tickets.


Trying out the new M ticket

I recently tried out the new mobile phone 'M ticket' on Brighton & Hove Buses. I loaded the free App in the usual way and added my address and bank details as required. This was a bit fiddly on a phone and I hope I won't have to repeat this process every time. Once into the system, selecting and buying a one day ticket for the same day was easy. The display is clear and cleverly designed with moving images to reduce the risk of fraud. It includes a digital clock which counts down to the expiry time of the ticket, so you know exactly how long you have to use it.

The first thing you learn is to be sure of loading the correct display on to the screen before boarding a bus so it is ready to show it to the driver. Do this too soon and the display can go blank (depending on your phone settings) and you might find yourself frantically loading it again with a queue of people behind. I'm not sure how it would work if you are listening to music or chatting on the phone when getting on a bus!

I travelled from Brighton Old Steine to Lewes and back and all was fine. Then I boarded a 7 in North Street to go to Hove. I couldn't get a 3G or wi-fi signal at the bus stop so there was no display. I waited until everyone else had got on and explained my situation to the driver who was cool. He politely asked me to show him the ticket later (perhaps he was aware of this problem?). I couldn't get a signal by the next stop and I was feeling awkward so I got off the bus. Then the signal came back immediately! Presumably this problem wouldn't have happened on a No 6 bus with free wi-fi so hopefully this facility will become more widespread soon.

M tickets are an interesting idea and Brighton & Hove should be applauded for trying something new. I imagine they will appeal to those who like to use mobiles for everything. Perhaps they will catch on in time but at the moment few people seem to be using them. At £3.50 for one day and £15 for a week they are the cheapest tickets available so the incentive is there. They also have the advantage that you can see what you've bought on the phone display, whereas a Key card shows you nothing until you log on to your account. M tickets are only valid on Brighton & Hove Buses which is a disadvantage, but no more than with a Key card. On balance I think Key cards are easier to use but I've had a London Oyster Card for years so I'm used to smartcards.

We would be interested to hear other people's experiences with M tickets. Do drop us a line or go to our Facebook page.


continued in next column

May 2013 News: continued

One ticket please!

Last month Bus Users UK held its AGM in Oxford where the two main bus companies, Stagecoach in Oxfordshire and the Oxford Bus Company (owned by Go-Ahead) have introduced one combined smartcard for the Oxford city area, valid on all buses. The Managing Directors of both Oxford bus companies gave presentations and we quizzed them on this point. They explained that they had done it as a commercial initiative without subsidies or Council control and it was simple to manage. We need a similar deal with one sensibly priced ticket valid on all buses.


Our bus service suggestions

The Brighton & Hove Bus Company reviews its timetables twice each year and implements changes every April and September. The company encourages comments from bus users and Brighton Area Buswatch has submitted a list of suggestions for September 2013.

Many of these are based on comments received from new members and supporters, so thanks to all of you who sent in ideas.

Two issues stand out:

1) There is increasing pressure for a regular bus service between Woodingdean and Falmer. We have mentioned this before and have raised it with bus companies. They have sought kick-start funding from both Universities and the AMEX Stadium but without success.

With student numbers predicted to increase and more people working in the Falmer area, plus events at the AMEX stadium we believe this link is essential. We are therefore suggesting the company should start a service without subsidy for a trial period, either as a new route or by extending an existing route.

2) The most common question we are asked is why there is no bus service along the seafront towards Hove. The answer from bus companies has always been that there isn't enough demand. They say usage would be largely seasonal and would vary from day to day according to the weather.

They may have a point. The 11X service used to run along Kings Road between the Thistle Hotel and Hove Town Hall. It was financed by the City Council to help staff to travel between Council offices. The service was withdrawn last year because hardly anyone else used it. In contrast buses using North Street and Western Road are busy at all times.

We suggest the answer might be to extend the 77 Devil's Dyke service to run both ways along Hove seafront as a trial. This would provide an open top service during the summer months and if successful it could be introduced at other times.

    Other suggested improvements include:

  • Simplifying the 2A route in Shoreham so people on buses towards Steyning don't face frustrating delays at three level crossings.

  • Re-routeing the 2A between Woodingdean and Rottingdean to run via Ovingdean

  • Extending the N5 night bus from Patcham to Hollingbury Asda

  • Extending route 7 to Hove Town Hall to improve access to Hove town centre.
  • More buses on routes 14 & 14C to reduce overcrowding on Coaster routes 12 & 12A.

  • Extra daytime buses on route 25 to cope with peak demand with some terminating at Falmer Station instead of Universities to reduce congestion on campus roads.

Brighton Station Gateway plans

Brighton & Hove City Council's Transport Committee has confirmed that taxis will not be moving from their present location at the front of Brighton Station. This could mean less space and more congestion for buses in the station forecourt. There could be greater problems as buses depart; as there is a likelyhood they could be blocked in by taxis entering and exiting from the station. We will be pressing the Council to create an acceptable arrangement for buses.


This newsletter is edited 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 early June.


Our April (and early May 13) Newsletter includes:-
- Bus fares increase from 21st April 2013
- More buses on many bus routes, and news on supported services.
- New Sunday service to Ditchling Village, but withdrawl of Crawley service N73.
- The Big Lemon meeets its users.
- Explorer tickets- Stagecoach gets in a muddle.
- Welcome to Martin Harris.

Our March (and early April 13) Newsletter includes:-
- Improvements to Coastliner service 700 service.
- Farewell to Roger French.
- 'M' tickets on Brighton & Hove route 23 & 25.
- New bus and cycle lanes along the Lewes Road.