What do you think about these suggested changes to buses? Individuals

Closed 28 Sep 2014

Opened 7 Jul 2014

Feedback Updated 19 Dec 2014

We Asked

For views on a number of changes that we were proposing to bus services we financially support.

You Said

A reduction in options to travel by bus did not offer the level of service you would like. It was felt that the proposed reduction could affect quality of life, ability to attend medical appointments and impact on the vulnerable, particularly the elderly in rural locations. There were some concerns around the impact on the economy if travel options were reduced and that the strategy assumed a 9.00 to 17.00 working pattern. It was also noted that a reduction in services could cause an increase in the usage of cars or remove choice of school.

We Did

On 16 December 2014 the County Council’s Cabinet agreed the proposed Public Transport Strategic Commissioning Strategy and agreed the implementation of the proposed reformulated supported bus network (RSBN) which included an increase in adult and child fares across the supported bus network. Seven off-peak services will be reduced to two days a week, and two to three days a week. Twenty three previously subsidised services will run as commercial routes, which includes most evening services in the county. Dial-a-Ride services will continue to receive funding to provide at least a three day-a-week service, and school services to Heathfield, Ringmer and Uplands Colleges will continue to operate. The changes, which come into effect from April 2015, will leave 91 per cent of passengers unaffected while 96 per cent will still have access to a six-day-a-week service. Please note: Cabinet agreed these proposals on 16 December and in accordance with our procedures this decision will come into force and may be implemented on the expiry of 4 working days after the publication of the decision, unless called in. However if call-in is accepted then it will be considered within 10 working days of the decision to call the matter in.

Results Updated 19 Dec 2014

Over 2,600 residents and organisations completed a survey about their views on suggested changes to buses. 1,170 people responded via this online survey.

Also over 200 people wrote to the council or emailed their views, and 13 petitions were handed in. We received feedback from members of the public, MPs, councillors from district, borough, town and parish councils, businesses and community organisations during the consultation period.

The consultation has increased our understanding of why respondents use the supported bus network and provided feedback on our proposals. Respondents to the consultation feel the strategy limits the options to travel by bus, and that if subsidised services are reduced to less than hourly or only provided on 2 days a week this would not offer the level of service that the community would like. Whilst respondents would like bus services at a greater frequency than proposed, this is an indication of demand as opposed to need.

It was felt that the proposed reduction could affect quality of life, medical appointments and impact on the vulnerable, particularly the elderly in rural locations.

There were some concerns around the impact on the economy if travel options were reduced and that the strategy assumed a 9.00 to 17.00 working pattern. It was also noted that a reduction in services could cause an increase in the usage of cars or remove choice of school. 

Half of respondents would not be happy to support the proposed 30% increase in fares (on those remaining subsidised services) and did not agree that this is a reasonable proposal. However a quarter of respondents understood why this increase is necessary.

A summary of the consultation findings including detailed tables of results are included in this report. Transcripts of the comments that were received are also available; please see the list of related documents at the bottom of this page.

A wide range of data was reviewed during the development of the draft Strategy to provide a clearer understanding of the travel needs of residents and communities across East Sussex. The findings from the consultation have added to this understanding of need, however the assessment of travel need set out in the Strategy remains accurate. The strategic outcomes and hierarchy identified in the draft Strategy would result in a RSBN that would meet the needs identified as part of this strategic commissioning process.

The revised RSBN still offers peak time access to education and employment, and reduced daytime services to key centres on Mondays to Saturdays. These proposals have the potential to save £1.88m of public money but still ensure that 91% of all current passengers on the East Sussex bus network are unaffected. It would also ensure that over 95% still have access to a 6 day a week service, Monday to Saturday. If these proposals are agreed 90 of the 101 subsidised bus services in East Sussex will continue to run under these revised proposals.

The commercialisation of 23 services currently subsidised by the County Council will increase the proportion of all local bus trips that are made on commercial services in the county from 80 to 85%.

On 16 December the Council’s Cabinet will consider recommendations for the reformulated supported bus network. The cabinet papers are available on the County Council's website and contain the Strategy, accompanying Technical Appendices and a summary of the proposed RSBN.

Files:

Overview

East Sussex County Council is seeking your views on a number of changes that it is proposing to its subsidised bus services. The proposals would save £1.79m of public money but still ensure that 91% of all current passengers on the East Sussex bus network are unaffected. It would also ensure that over 95% still have access to a 6 day a week service, Monday to Saturday.

Our proposals for the supported bus network:

  • Supported peak time services would be largely unchanged
  • Children travelling to their nearest school and peak time commuters would be largely unaffected
  • Supported off-peak daytime services that currently operate hourly or better would still operate Monday to Saturday but with a reduced frequency (generally 2 hourly)
  • Supported off peak daytime services that currently operate less than hourly would generally be reduced to a service that operates 2 days a week (on most services around 2 hourly)
  • Financial support for 13 evening and Sunday services would be withdrawn
  • Funding for most supported dial a ride transport would be reduced to provide a minimum 2 days a week service

*Passenger estimates are based on the latest available data from surveys on operator returns. Saving estimates are based on projections from current contract costs.

Why We Are Consulting

We are facing the challenge of saving £110m in the ten years up to 2020 whilst keeping your council tax as low as possible. We are reviewing services across the whole council to prioritise the delivery of those services that are needed by you.

In summer 2013 we asked for views about local bus services. This feedback together with other information has informed our draft Public Transport Strategic Commissioning Strategy (Our Plan). It also helped identify some changes to the supported bus network that could help us make the required saving to our transport budget.

Providing bus services to meet the needs of the people of East Sussex is important to us. We would like to hear what you have to say about our Plan and our ideas for changing the supported bus network before we make any decisions.

How to take part
If you are responding as an individual please click on the link to the online survey below.

If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, for example a community group, parish council, business etc please complete the online survey for Organisations 

 

What Happens Next

We will review what you tell us together with information from a number of other sources. We will use these findings to decide whether the draft strategy and / or supported bus network proposals need to be changed.

In December 2014 a report about the consultation findings will be submitted to the County Council’s Cabinet. This report will address any issues or queries that have been raised during the consultation process. It will also contain a summary of the written comments that are received during the consultation.

Cabinet will be asked to approve the final version of the strategy and the recommendations for the final supported bus network. If Cabinet approve these recommendations changes to services could be made from April 2015.

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Anybody with an interest
  • People who use our services

Interests

  • Public Transport