Special bus service plugs New Year’s Day gap

CCB volunteers, left,  with MP Charles Hendry and Cllr Barry Marlowe
CCB volunteers, left, with MP Charles Hendry and Cllr Barry Marlowe

Local bus operator Cuckmere Community Bus (CCB) has stepped in to fill a big gap in the seasonal timetables over the festive break.

Hailsham Town Council is part-subsidising the cost of running a special service on New Year’s Day on CCB’s bus route 50 from Heathfield to Eastbourne via Hailsham and Polegate.

CCB, which is run entirely by volunteers was concerned that Hailsham would be left without any public transport on January 1, as the commercial bus companies normally serving the town do not operate on this day, leaving Hailsham residents without a transport link to Polegate train station or Eastbourne town centre.

The number 50 service will start operating from Heathfield at 9.30am and will provide a two-hourly link via Grove Hill, past the entrance to Roebuck Park, then through Hailsham and Polegate to the Eastbourne DGH and town centre, with journeys in each direction running until 5pm.

This is the second consecutive year that CCB has run this special bus service part-underwritten this year by Hailsham Town Council.

Wealden MP Charles Hendry said, “This will be an enormous benefit to many people who would otherwise not be able to travel and I welcome the work which has been put in by the town council and by the Cuckmere community bus service to deliver such an excellent result for local people.”

Barry Marlowe, oversight councillor for Public Transport Links at the Town Council and lead member of the Hailsham Bus Alliance, said, “The Town Council is pleased to be supporting CCB’s New Year’s Day bus service, which will allow bargain hunters to reach Eastbourne town centre easily to do a spot of shopping, visit friends and loved ones in Eastbourne DGH or just to simply to go for a festive pint in Hailsham town centre.”

“This service is vital for the passengers who will use it and is just one example that demonstrates how working in partnership with our local bus operators will provide a service aimed at benefiting everyone.”

Added Councillor Marlowe, “Cuckmere Community Bus has worked closely with the Town Council over the last seven years to develop supplementary public transport links in and around Hailsham.

It is a privilege for the Town Council to underwrite these essential services and we will continue to support local bus operators to make service improvements, specifically for those who cannot access the conventional public transport network.”

Philip Ayers, director and organiser of CCB said: “We recognise that commercial operators cannot make a service like this viable, but our concern always focuses on local communities. Hailsham is one of the important communities we serve, and we hope local people will make use of this special service.”

Full details of the New Year’s Day number 50 service are available now on the Cuckmere Community Bus website (www.cuckmerebus.freeuk.com) and via the Hailsham Bus Alliance’s website at www.hailshambus.org.uk