‘Lifeline’ bus service for villages on outskirts of Eastbourne appeal for volunteer drivers

Members of the Cuckmere Buses volunteer service
Members of the Cuckmere Buses volunteer service

A rural bus service operating for more than 40 years is appealing for volunteer drivers to keep the ‘lifeline’ operation going.

Cuckmere Buses currently provides eight 16-seater buses, operating seven days a week for 363 days a year in Cuckmere Valley and surrounding areas, to get passengers to their nearest towns for shopping, appointments and days out.

The bus service has been in operation for more than 40 years

The bus service has been in operation for more than 40 years

Philip Ayers, managing director, said, “Everyone in our organisation is a volunteer. We have been providing services to areas in East Sussex, which are not supported by the larger bus operators, for over 40 years.

“Using smaller buses we can more readily negotiate the narrower roads of rural areas and town estates, providing a lifeline to those in remote areas of the smaller towns and outlying villages.

“To maintain our services we need to recruit volunteer drivers to replace those who, over time, inevitably, need to hand in their keys.

“You do not need a PCV licence but you do need the D1 classification on your licence. Full training and back up will be given.”

A spokesperson said the buses, based at Berwick, operate 20 different routes a week. Transport links include Alfriston, Beachlands, Berwick, East Dean, Pevensey, Polegate, Ripe, Waldron and Willingdon, town bus services in Hailsham, Seaford and leisure services throughout the South Downs National Park. Links to Eastbourne and Brighton are provided as well as private hire.

John Bunce, operations director said, “Once trained, a driver can drive as much or as little as they wish - mornings, afternoons, weekdays, weekends, particular days in a week – the driver chooses.”

A spokesperson said, “If you enjoy driving, meeting people and being appreciated, and want to find out more, call 01323 870920, 07802 305155 or email: volunteer@cuckmerebuses.org.uk.

“Cuckmere Buses would love to hear from you. You would be helping to maintain this invaluable service.”

For first-hand experience and advice speak to a volunteer and try driving a bus at the Hailsham Farmer’s Market every second Saturday morning of the month. Licences must be provided if doing so.