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Competitor steps in to save bus route

A popular bus service due to be scrapped at Easter is to be taken over by a competitor.

There was outrage among Old Town residents when Eastbourne Buses announced it was scrapping the No 7 service. Hundreds signed a petition to try and save it.

Old Town campaigner Anne Angel said residents relied on the bus and the loss of the service would mean many people would become isolated in a hilly part of Eastbourne.

The firm's managing director Steve Barnett said the service was running at a loss and added, "We have been forced into this decision by continual substantial losses incurred on the service.

"A major factor in the decision process was the significant drop in payments from central government for each passenger being carried on the concessionary fares scheme."

But there were huge sighs of relief this week when East Sussex County Council announced the service would be taken over by Renown Coaches, operator of the Cavendish buses, which is stepping in to provide an hourly service to Cherry Garden Road and Hill Road Monday to Friday.

On Wednesday Mrs Angel, her fellow Conservative campaigner Simon Herbert, who started the petition, and Eastbourne MP Nigel Waterson said they were delighted.

"The response to the petition has been overwhelming and I guess we have several hundred signatures which is a real victory for people power and democracy!," they added.

"There is clearly huge demand for a bus service in these areas of Old Town. We are delighted that people living in the areas affected will still have a regular bus service, and I wish Cavendish every success with the new service it will be offering."

Local Liberal Democrat councillors also backed the retention of a service on the route.

A spokesperson at Renown-Cavendish said, "We have responded to recent news that Eastbourne Buses will be suspending services to Cherry Garden Road and the company, aware of the difficulties being experienced by the fare paying public of Eastbourne, is proposing changes to Service 9.

"From Tuesday March 25 Renown-Cavendish Service 9 will now include the Cherry Garden Road area in its route between Meads village, town centre, Eastbourne District General Hospital and Sainsburys. The route will operate hourly between Monday and Friday from 8am to 5pm.

"Plans also include adding the Hill Road area to Service 10 in its route between Sainsburys, Eastbourne District General Hospital, town centre and Langney Shopping Centre. This route also operates hourly between 8am and 5pm Mondays to Fridays. This route however will no longer be able to serve the Bridgemere area.

"Discussions are ongoing with the county council which is considering a proposal from Renown-Cavendish to provide an hourly service between Beachlands and Langney Shops via Westham. This route cannot be provided commercially and would require some funding for it to operate.

Managing director of Renown-Cavendish, Christian Harmer, said, "Cavendish Motor Services was created out of the demand for cost effective, public transport to areas of the town that were not being catered for.

"Since 2006 we have continued to build on these services and are grateful for the support received from the fare paying public."

Internet users can see new and existing timetables at www.renowncoaches.co.uk and copies are available from Renown-Cavendish drivers.

 
 
 

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