Following a survey of Bexhill residents undertaken by the local Labour Party in the run up to the 2021 local elections, the Labour Group of Rother District Councillors have published a report detailing the survey’s findings and setting out recommendations to improve bus services in the Bexhill area.
You can see the full report here –Bexhill Better Bus Services – A report into the findings of the Bexhill Better Buses Survey
The report, compiled by Labour Group Leader Cllr Christine Bayliss, shows evidence of unmet demand for bus services with a majority of respondents saying they’d prefer to use bus services more often but citing inconvenient or unreliable timetables as a deterrent. The report also shows a desire among some respondents for an evening bus service running from 6:30pm to 11:30pm, with reasons for this service which include leisure, visiting family, shopping and access to employment.
The report also details use of the Bexhill Community Bus Service, highlighting that residents living in Sidley, a ward with high levels of deprivation, do not get to benefit from the affordable transport provided by the Community Bus whilst residents of Little Common, a more affluent area, are shown to have the highest usage of the Community Bus which the report suggests means residents from the poorest areas are paying the highest fares to travel in Bexhill.
The report also suggests a disconnection between bus and rail services, with apparently no strategic plan to join up the two services. The report notes that rail services to Hastings and Eastbourne are significantly cheaper, faster and more reliable than the equivalent bus services.
Off the back of these findings, the report sets out seven recommendations, including taking advantage of the Government’s new “Enhanced Partnership” approach to improve local bus services, introducing evening bus services for all the communities in Bexhill, establishing a direct link between Bexhill railway station and the North Bexhill Business Park, working with schools and education facilities to improve access and take up of school/college bus services, finding an alternative affordable service to replace the cancelled free service to Ravenside retail park, working with Bexhill Community Bus Service to ensure a service is available to residents in Sidley and urging the Community Bus Service to increase the awareness and publicity of their services.
Speaking about the report, Cllr Christine Bayliss said, “Having good public transport links makes a real difference to an area, bringing in jobs and investment, ensuring affordable access for residents and helping reduce vehicle emissions. I hope that East Sussex County Council, Stagecoach and the Bexhill Community Bus Service decide to implement our recommendations. It will make a real difference.”
Sidley Labour Councillor Sam Coleman said of the report, “The recommendations of this report are long overdue, especially in Sidley where there has long been a need for reliable and affordable bus services in and out of Bexhill Town Centre, especially in the later hours in order to open up employment and leisure opportunities for Sidley’s residents.”