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Bus services face cuts
NEARLY 100 bus services across Sussex face cuts as the council looks to save £1.79 million.
Residents across East Sussex could see reduced services to all corners of the county, including Rye, Hastings, Brighton, Uckfield, and Lewes.
East Sussex County Council’s (ESCC) cabinet is set to discuss the cuts on July 1 with a view to approving a public consultation into changes.
The move could affect operators including Stagecoach, Compass Travel and Brighton and Hove Buses.
ESCC says it subsidises a number of routes which would be “economically unviable” if run privately without council subsidies.
Routes included in the consultation cover rural services through Barcombe, Lewes and Alfriston, proposing reductions from every two hours to a twice-weekly service.
Some Lewes bus routes would see services reduced from half-hourly to hourly, including Winterbourne to Lewes.
Seaford faces losing its Sunday service to Eastbourne and reducing the daily hourly service to two days a week.
Newhaven faces cuts to its Lewes service from an hourly service to a two-hour off-peak service.
And those hoping to travel by bus between Tunbridge Wells and Brighton, through Lewes, on Monday to Saturday evenings could lose their service altogether.
The routes not cut could see fare rises of up to 30 per cent.
Chris Smith of Travel Log Lewes said: “Fares on remaining services will face a huge hike, making them unaffordable for many. This will lead to even less use of the buses remaining.
“You can see that the council is trying to reduce bus passengers so that they can make even further cuts.”
Norman Baker, the local Lib Dem MP and transport minister for the Government said it was a council decision and “a deeply regrettable policy”.
He said: “These types of cuts are not just an inconvenience but will greatly affect people’s day to day living.
“I hope people make their complaints known to the county council.”
Mr Baker expressed disappointment that the county council has spent more than £100 million on the Bexhill link road and felt it could have used some of this money for its bus services.
Brighton and Hove Buses confirmed the evening journeys on routes 28 and 29, supported financially by ESCC, are likely to be affected by the proposal.
A spokesperson for the bus company said: “We would suggest that passengers affected by the proposal should respond to the council's consultation.”