local bus users
we welcome new members and supporters reading our news for the first time.
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.
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.
Are bus fares fair?
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.
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
are a few tips for bargain travel (as at March 2013):
M tickets on Brighton & Hove routes 23 & 25.
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.
New bus and cycle lanes along the Lewes
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
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
Big Lemon public meeting on 4 April
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
& 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.
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 www.thesussexbus.com.
The Company has recently issued an attractive timetable brochure with details of
all its services and diagrammatic maps, including the new routes starting in
Farewell to Roger
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.
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
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.
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.
has told us he would like us to keep him informed with local bus news. It will
be an honour to do that.
hope you enjoy a long and happy retirement Roger!
Our next meeting
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
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.
all for now, our next newsletter will be in mid April.
newsletter is edited by Andrew Boag,
Brighton Area Buswatch
a few minor changes by the Secretary (Peter Elvidge)
Brighton Area Buswatch, c/o Community
Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG
Area Buswatch is part of Bus Users UK