A HAILSHAM councillor has been successful in his campaign to secure an early-morning coach service between Eastbourne, Hailsham and London.
National Express has announced that from Monday, July 2, a new coach service will operate from Eastbourne (7.30am) to Hailsham (7.50am) and then on to London.
Passengers will be able to enjoy more than eight hours in the capital – arriving at 10.45am and departing at 7pm.
The coach service has been introduced following a campaign by Hailsham man Barry Marlowe.
Mr Marlowe collected 625 signatures calling for an early morning service to London.
He said, “A considerable amount of interest and support surrounded the campaign locally.
“We are celebrating the success of that campaign and I am delighted with these new services.
“I would like to extend my thanks to Mike Lambden, of National Express, who accepted the petition in Birmingham last July.”
Mr Marlowe explained that Mr Lambden maintained regular contact until he announced the new, improved service.
Mr Marlowe added, “This is a good example of a national company listening and responding to its customers’ requests.”
This new daily service starts at Eastbourne before calling at Hailsham, Uckfield, Nutley, Forest Row and East Grinstead.
It then continues to Gatwick Airport and London Victoria.
Mr Marlowe said, “This gives people ample time for shopping, sightseeing, restaurants, theatres and museums.
“For those making longer journeys there is now a better choice of nationwide onward connections.
“In addition, this new service includes a daily direct journey to Gatwick Airport, a particular benefit to residents of all the towns where there is no direct rail link.”
Mr Marlowe extended his thanks to everyone who signed the petition and the 14 businesses that supported and promoted the campaign by agreeing to host it.
He also thanked Wealden MP Charles Hendry who supported the campaign from the beginning.
Mr Hendry said, “I am delighted to learn that this coach service has been reinstated.
“It is an important link between communities in the South-East and offers Sussex residents an alternative form of transport to London.
“I would like to thank Barry Marlowe and all others involved in making this happen.
“If it had not been for all their hard work the National Express service may not have made its way back to this part of Sussex.”
The departure times are 7.30am from Eastbourne, 7.50am from Hailsham and 8.15am from Uckfield to arrive at Gatwick Airport at 9.05am and then London Victoria at 10.45am. The return coach departs from London Victoria at 7pm.
Further information and the full timetable can be found at www.barrymarlowe.co.uk or www.nationalexpress.com.
Barry Marlowe on right, presenting the petition to Mike Lambden in Birmingham last year