Brighton Area Buswatch

representing local bus users


March (& early April) 2013 Newsletter:


Firstly, we welcome new members and supporters reading our news for the first time.


Our message is spreading fast! Brighton Area Buswatch leaflets are on most local buses this month, giving details of what we do and how to get involved. We are very grateful to the bus companies for agreeing to display our posters and leaflets. Thanks are also due to Bus Users UK and others for contributing to our printing costs. Without this help we could not have produced the leaflets.


It is important to stress that we are independent from bus companies and local authorities. Our policy is to influence decisions by building relationships and working with others. We have meetings four times a year with bus companies and Council representatives where members concerns are discussed. They also have an opportunity to explain future proposals. Details of our next meeting are at the end of this newsletter.

Brighton & Hove to increase fares from 21st April:

The Brighton & Hove Bus Company has announced fares will go up on 21st April. Most cash fares will go up: the short hop and ordinary single fares will go up by 10p, to £1.60 and £2.30 respectively.The 'on bus' Saver will go up 20p to £4.60. The shop brought daily scratch off Saver increases a full 10% to £4.40, while the weekly version goes up to £22!

The previously highlighted 'Keycard' will see some of the largest rises in fares, with the daily Saver going up by over 11% to £3.90, and the annual (Keycard) Saver going up from £450 to £490.

The bus company has a few positives. The centrefare and the bargain 'Explorer Family' remain unchanged (presumably as are student fares). The bus company has introduced a new ticket on smartphones ('m'-ticket), which are priced roughly the same (or cheaper) than the pre-increased Keycard tickets. Also the bus company has introduced a pay monthly ticket, by direct debit. While more expensive than 3 monthly or annual tickets, it is cheaper than a monthly, and you will never need to renew your ticket again. For a full list follow this link.

Are bus fares fair?

We are aware that many bus fares on Brighton & Hove Buses will be changing on 21 April and with recent hikes in the price of fuel it is inevitable some will be increased. Fares on routes supported by Brighton & Hove City Council and operated by Compass Bus or The Big Lemon will also change as there is an agreement for fares to be the same on these services. We recommend passengers stock up on pre-paid Saver tickets or Key cards to beat the increases.


We would like to hear from you about your bus fares and we will put your comments to the bus companies. What can be done to ease the burden? Everyone would like fares to be cheaper but that requires subsidies and these are unlikely to be forthcoming. However bus companies may be able to change certain fares to make them more attractive. One positive change we are aware of is that Saver tickets will be available on all Brighton & Hove Night buses from 21 April (those routes with an ‘N’ prefix). At present they are only valid on routes N7 & N25 and this has created some confusion, especially where ‘Nightclub’ buses like the N1 & N5 serve the same stops. Hopefully this change will lead to an increase in the number of passengers on night buses to keep the services viable. It will also help those on low incomes who work at night - research in London has shown that around 50% of people using night buses are travelling to or from work.


Here are a few tips for bargain travel (as at March 2013):


M tickets on Brighton & Hove routes 23 & 25.

As we reported last month, users of these Brighton & Hove routes can now buy £3 day tickets and £10 weekly tickets using a smartphone app. M tickets are displayed on phones and shown to the driver on boarding, there is no printed ticket. Plans to remove cash sales of these tickets have been put on hold following feedback. The idea of the M tickets is to speed up buses by reducing the number of cash transactions. Bendy buses on route 25 carry over 100 passengers and can take several minutes to load when lots of people decide to pay cash. This leads to slower journeys which deters some people from travelling by bus. The M-tickets will soon cover the whole network.



New bus and cycle lanes along the Lewes Road. Our picture shows one of the relocated bus stops and new shelter near Coombe Road, with the new cycle lane passing behind the bus stop. In due course the nearside traffic lane will become a bus only lane and the real time sign on the far right will be relocated in front of the new shelter where the square plate is. There is an accessible crossing point behind the shelter.


Coastliner 700 Improvements

Good news for users of Stagecoach Coastliner service 700 linking Brighton with Worthing, Littlehampton, Arundel, Chichester, Portsmouth & Southsea. There will be more Sunday buses from 5 May when the daytime frequency between Brighton and Littlehampton will increase to every 20 minutes (currently every 30 minutes) and the service to Portsmouth increases to half-hourly (currently hourly). There will be a revised timetable on other days of the week to improve reliability, although frequencies are unchanged. Stagecoach is also introducing free wi-fi on Coastliner 700 vehicles so you can keep in touch on the move.


Big Lemon public meeting on 4 April

Following the public consultation we mentioned last month we can confirm that the route 52 timetable will change on 21 April with most buses running 15 minutes earlier than at present. In connection with this change, there is a public meeting on Thursday 4 April at 7pm in Ovingdean Church. This will give local bus users will have a chance to meet The Big Lemon Managing Director Tom Druitt. Tom takes a lively interest in the views of bus users and we recommend this event.


Brighton Station Gateway update

Brighton & Hove City Council have abandoned the idea of taxis queuing in Frederick Place following opposition from local residents, concerned about the impact on the surrounding area. This means the idea of a taxi rank in the front of the station accessed from Trafalgar Street is unlikely to proceed. At the moment we don’t know what impact this will have on bus stop arrangements but we will be investigating this with the Council.

theSussexBus developments

Sussex Bus is introducing new circular routes 134 & 135 around Burgess Hill from 15 April. An hourly service will run during the daytime, Monday to Saturday. This provides some competition for Metrobus routes 34E, 34W, 35E & 35W. SussexBus is also introducing a new schoolday service between Burgess Hill and Keymer via Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks with one journey each way. More details on The Company has recently issued an attractive timetable brochure with details of all its services and diagrammatic maps, including the new routes starting in April.



Farewell to Roger French

This month we say a sad good-bye to Brighton & Hove Managing Director Roger French who retires on 22 March after a distinguished 30 year career in our area.

Roger and his great team have doubled the number of people travelling on Brighton & Hove buses in the past twenty years by innovation and continuous improvement, creating a better service every year (helped a little by our group). This massive achievement is in stark contrast to some parts of the UK where bus use has been in continuous decline for decades. Unlike London he has achieved this transformation without the help of massive public subsidies.


Local people may not realise that Roger has become a legend in the bus industry for his many achievements. Indeed he has been voted amongst the top 50 most influential people in the transport industry in the UK – competing with such well known figures as Sir Richard Branson.


Roger has been a keen supporter of Brighton Area Buswatch and our partners at Bus Users UK. We have rarely disagreed with his views and he has always tried to understand our concerns.


He has told us he would like us to keep him informed with local bus news. It will be an honour to do that.


We hope you enjoy a long and happy retirement Roger!


Our next meeting

Brighton Area Buswatch and Bus Users UK have meetings four times a year with Brighton & Hove City Council and local bus company representatives. The next one is on Wednesday 10 April at 6pm in Hove Town Hall. Space is limited so if you would like to attend, please contact us in advance (obviously existing members are welcomed).


Please send us have any concerns or ideas you would like us to take up and we will raise these with bus company and City Council representatives on your behalf. We don’t deal with specific incidents such as why a bus ran late on one particular day, but if this is your regular bus and it is always late we can ask for the service to be reviewed.


Thats all for now, our next newsletter will be in mid April.


Andrew Boag


This newsletter is edited by Andrew Boag,

Chair Brighton Area Buswatch

E mail:

With a few minor changes by the Secretary (Peter Elvidge)

Phone: 01273 323075

Post: Brighton Area Buswatch, c/o Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG

Brighton Area Buswatch is part of Bus Users UK