Changes to bus services are on the cards to save money

Bus lane, Terminus Road, Eastbourne. 7/11/13'Eastbourne busses
Bus lane, Terminus Road, Eastbourne. 7/11/13'Eastbourne busses

Changes to supported bus services and concessionary bus passes are set to be discussed by East Sussex County Council’s cabinet.

At its next meeting on Tuesday (December 10), the cabinet will consider proposals to establish a Public Transport Services Commissioning Strategy, which will examine the future of supported bus travel in the county.

Cabinet is also being asked to consider other changes to how bus services are provided by the council, which needs to make savings of £2.23 million from its transport budget over the next three years.

These include: changing the start time at which people with concessionary bus passes can use their pass from 9am to 9.30am on weekdays, bringing East Sussex in line with national guidelines; holding a consultation on changing the eligibility criteria for companion passes, which allow disabled people who need help travelling to be accompanied by another person travelling free of charge; increasing the charge to concessionary pass holders of replacing a lost pass from £5 to £10.

The proposals follow a public consultation on bus services held in the summer, in which just over a quarter of respondents (28 per cent) said moving the start time for concessionary bus pass use to 9.30am would have a negative impact on them.

An additional option being examined is negotiating with bus companies to turn some subsidised routes into commercial routes, to save a further £243,000.

In East Sussex, around 8.2 million out of a total of 21.3 million bus journeys are concessionary journeys.

Currently there are around 125,000 bus passes in circulation to residents in the county.