Bus operator defends decision to reduce service

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The managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses has defended his decision to change the route of the number 59 service following an outcry from Steyning passengers.

The change to the route will mean customers will no longer be able to catch the 7.06am bus from Steyning.

Instead, Martin Harris said customers could get the number 2 at 6.56am from Steyning instead and change to the number 59 at Old Shoreham at 7.22am.

Jo Prior, a green party activist, said the decision was ‘complete and utter madness’.

In a letter to the company, in which she copied in Nick Herbert MP, she said: “When I heard you were making changes to the bus service in Steyning, I had hoped you might be improving the service; perhaps reducing the cost, increasing the frequency, introducing new routes or perhaps even bringing in buses with bike racks.
“It was with great disappointment therefore that I learned you were, in fact, intending to reduce the service. This is complete and utter madness and I am writing to object in the strongest possible terms.

“I was particularly shocked by this decision given that improvements made by your bus company in Brighton and Hove helped the city win a CIVITAS award in 2014 in the category ‘City of the Year’.

“Buses are essential for rural areas, particularly where there is no train station, and for those in vulnerable groups; older people and younger people unable to drive, job seekers, those on low incomes and disabled people.”

In a post on a local Facebook group, a number of residents expressed their disappointment with the decision.

Mr Harris added: “We review all our services regularly and, I’m afraid, in this instance there simply weren’t enough customers to justify two buses within ten minutes from Steyning around that time in the morning. During the day the demand is such that buses only run hourly.”