HAILSHAM: Petition seeks return of coach service to capital

A PETITION calling for the return of the National Express services from Hailsham to London has been handed over to the coach operator by a campaigner.

The campaign has been spearheaded by Hailsham town councillor Barry Marlowe and calls for National Express to reinstate the discontinued early morning and evening return services from Hailsham to the capital.

Under the current 024 route from Eastbourne to London Victoria, there is only one daily journey from Hailsham to London departing from Eastbourne at 10.30am and arriving at 1.20pm – not allowing enough time for passengers to make their onward connections.

Cllr Marlowe’s petition hopes to persuade the coach company to reinstate an early morning 8am service which would arrive in the capital at 10.50am, as well as a later service departing London at 6pm, giving travellers more than seven hours in London.

The petition has a total of 625 signatures after being placed in 14 shops along the route. While the majority of support came from Hailsham people, Eastbourne and Uckfield residents also signed the petition.

Cllr Marlowe said, “I would like to offer grateful thanks all those people who signed the petition and further thanks to all the businesses who have supported and promoted the campaign by agreeing to have the petition sheets on their premises.”

Last week Cllr Marlowe travelled to the National Express head offices in Birmingham and delivered the petition.

Mike Lambden, National Express’ head of corporate affairs, accepted the petition inside Birmingham coach station.

Cllr Marlowe was also taken on a tour of the firm’s new city centre coach station and was introduced to some members of staff.

Cllr Marlowe said, “I told the executives of National Express that a considerable amount of interest and support had surrounded the campaign locally, and while I fully realised that some hard commercial decisions will have to be addressed,

“I nevertheless urged National Express to give very strong consideration to reintroducing this 8am service to London and its evening return.”