A bus company is offering a free taxi service to passengers whose buses are more than 15 minutes late in Barcombe.

Complaints about unreliable buses raised by Lewes Liberal Democrat Rosalyn St Pierre on behalf of Barcombe residents inspired Countryliner to put on the service.

Michael Bishop, operations director for Countryliner, said: “As Barcombe is in a remote location for those without alternative transport, we gave an undertaking four weeks ago that if a bus was more than 15 minutes late after the departure time we would arrange a taxi for any passengers that call us so they can complete their journey.

“We have done this to not only give a solution to any future problem, but also to maintain our reputation within the community.

“This is a highly unusual and pro-active approach from a bus company and is only available in this circumstance.”

Coun St Pierre expressed her concern that the 10am service from Barcombe to Lewes had failed to arrive more than once, leaving passengers distressed and in danger of missing doctor’s appointments – and one student nearly missed an A-level exam as a result of a bus which did not arrive.

Coun St Pierre said: “Many local people have to travel to Lewes for medical treatment and other important services and any delay is a very serious matter, especially when the next bus is not for some two hours.”

Mr Bishop said that the taxis had not been needed as of yet, as the service has not been disrupted since two separate breakdowns on July 2 and July 31.

In order to use the service, the customer would have to phone Countryliner before requesting a taxi and the full amount would then be refunded.

Mr Bishop said that although breakdowns are rare on this route, Countryliner has apologised for the incidents in July.