From: James Warland
Willingdon Park Drive, Eastbourne
The Eastbourne Loop bus service, arguably the town’s most popular route, was previously cut by 25 per cent, (from four buses each hour to three), now a further cut reduces it to two each hour, a total cut of 50 per cent.
The single deck, easy load buses provided for years, a pretty reliable and well used service. At the first 25 per cent cut, mainly older double decker buses were introduced with passenger capacities of up to 100 and not designed for easy loading/unloading, i.e. no rear modern exit facility, difficult for prams, wheel chairs and elderly people to navigate.
Consequences meant the increased volume of passengers was condensed into fewer, more unsuitable vehicles.
This created longer loading/unloading times thus defeating the increased reliability we were promised.
In fact buses ran so late that they were frequently taken out of service and ran empty passing bus stops where passengers were waiting in vain.
It is noticeable that double decker buses are now being introduced on routes 1 and 1A. Could this be due to more passengers using these services, following reductions of Loop buses?
It is also noticeable that punctuality of the 1 and 1A routes is declining, possibly for the reasons mentioned above?
All this then eventually lead to fewer 1 and 1A services, on the basis, (Stagecoach may say), of better time keeping?
In Stagecoach’s last annual financial report they seem to congratulate themselves on producing increased profits with less vehicle miles.
Clearly their object is to provide maximum profits for shareholders whilst providing the absolute minimum services for travellers.
One way this has been possible was to heavily market the weekly/monthly passes, provide overseas student passes and then reduce services without loss of revenue for the company.
With Stagecoach bus services deteriorating, Eastbourne taxi fares rising sharply and town parking price increases it does not look good for the viability of the Beacon and town centre trade in general.